MORE than 17,000 people in Cork are currently waiting to sit their driver theory or driving tests.
Figures released to Sinn Féin transport spokesperson, Darren O’Rourke show that 10,220 people are currently waiting to sit their driving test in Cork City and County, while 6,845 people are on the theory test waiting list in Cork.
Sinn Féin TD for Cork North Central Thomas Gould said the delays are impacting people, and called for action to increase testing capacity.
“Last year we warned Minister Ryan his lack of planning for driving tests was going to cause chaos during 2021.
“Unfortunately, this has now transpired. In Cork, 10,220 people are waiting for a driving test with 6,031 of these waiting for the Wilton test centre, while a further 6,845 are waiting for a theory test in the city and county,” he said.
Mr Gould said despite calls for additional testers, these are still not in place nationwide.
“We called for additional testers to be hired to help address the growing backlog, but it took months for the minister to grant approval for the 80 extra testers the RSA themselves requested. They are still not in place.
“In November we asked the minister to put the theory test online, but it took until June of this year to bring in a restricted pilot scheme.”
The Cork TD said it is predominantly young people affected by these delays, which is having a massive impact on their lives.
“The delays are impacting their employment opportunities and will become a major problem for many as they return to college in September. Young people deserve better.”
A spokesperson for the RSA told The Echo: “As of Friday, July 9, there are 106,000 people nationally on our driver testing waiting list; however, just 64,500 are ready to take a test.
“Over 30,000 are not allowed to take the test as they haven’t completed their mandatory lessons and the remainder are scheduled to take a test.”
The spokesperson added that extra resources have been allocated to alleviate the backlog: “The RSA is being given additional resources. 40 additional testers will start testing in July and we will see a gradual reduction in the waiting list in the coming months. We expect to have a ten-week wait early in the new year.
“Anyone who wants a driver theory test appointment can get one.
“There are currently 130,000 customers with appointments in the coming months. Once they pass a theory test they must then hold a learner permit for six months and for that reason will not be seeking an immediate driving test.”