VEHICLES due for the national car test (NCT) have been given an extension of four months, because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Michael McGrath, the public expenditure and reform minister, said there have been delays in a number of centres, including ones in Co Cork, as a result of the pandemic.
In a parliamentary reply to Cork North Central TD, Padraig O’Sullivan, Mr McGrath said: “In the context of the safety protocols relating to Covid-19, the capacity of NCT centres is restricted and there is less opportunity to increase their level of service than would otherwise be possible. This has resulted in delays in a number of centres.”
Mr McGrath said: “Working hours have been extended in these centres to address the backlog.”
On its website, the National Car Testing Service (NCTS) said that due to Covid-19, compliant vehicles have had their test date extended by four months
It said: “The NCT service is deemed an essential service and customers travelling for scheduled appointments are exempt from the travel restrictions. Those who are more vulnerable are advised to contact the NCTS on 01 4135992 (Monday to Friday) to arrange an alternative appointment, free of any cancellation/rearrangement fees. Retests must be conducted within 30 days of the initial test or a full test will need to be conducted again.”
Mr McGrath told Mr O’Sullivan: “Where a delay in registration, beyond the normal waiting times for a pre-registration appointment, results in a higher VRT liability in January, Revenue is prepared to allow the lower charge to apply. NCT centres will be advised to contact Revenue in such cases.”
Mr McGrath said: “At present, customers can expect to wait between six and 20 working days for a pre-registration appointment; the 20-day wait occurs in two NCTS centres.”
And he said: “The registration service offered to authorised dealers on the Revenue Online Service (ROS), for new cars and cars that have been pre-inspected, has remained unchanged since the original restrictions in March and such vehicles may be registered in the normal way, before delivery to a customer.
“Overall, Revenue is satisfied that the service being provided, at present, is reasonable in the context of the safety protocols that are necessary in NCTS centres,” Mr McGrath said.
Mr O’Sullivan said that he has been contacted by a number of people who have concerns about a delay in the system.
He said essential workers should be prioritised to ensure they have their NCT appointments.
In Cork, there are six NCTS centres: In Blarney, Little Island, Macroom, Charleville, Skibbereen, and Youghal.