Extension of validity of driving licenses being considered by Minister due to backlog – Higgins

-   Emer Higgins, TD

Fine Gael TD Emer Higgins has welcomed confirmation that an extension of the validity of driving licences for a further period due to Covid-19 is now being considered.

The Dublin Mid West representative submitted a parliamentary question to the Minister for Climate Action, Communication Networks and Transport, Eamon Ryan, TD, on Tuesday after receiving complaints from concerned motorists who cannot get a renewal of their driving license due to Covid-19 measures.

Deputy Higgins said, “I welcome the fact that Minister Ryan is now considering my proposal to extend the further validity of driving licenses.

“Many motorists who need a driving license to attend work, including frontline medical staff, have contacted me in recent weeks.

“The previous Minister extended validity of driving licenses to the 30th June as a result of the inability to produce new licenses during the lockdown period.

“However, a large backlog has built up in that time and social distancing has reduced the capacity of staff to produce licenses.

“Through no fault of the staff or those applying for licenses, it is now impossible to renew a drivers’ license in a timely manner.

“Nobody’s livelihood should be put at risk as a result of this delay. This is a common sense solution to overcome an unforeseen crisis.

“Earlier this year driving licences and learner permits, which were due to expire from 1 March to 30 June 2020, were extended for a four-month period from their expiry date.

“NDLS offices are unable to facilitate any walk-ins due to social distancing requirements and in the interest of protecting staff and customers. All appointments must now be booked in advance which has led to an increase in the demand for appointments.

“If it made sense for Minister Ross to extend driving licenses earlier in the year, it makes just as much sense for Minister Ryan to extend them now.

“I am urging Minister Ryan to act quickly and decisively so that motorists can continue to legally travel to work,” Deputy Higgins concluded.

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