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A Clare TD has described the backlog for driving tests and lessons as chaotic.

Fears of a seven month wait for driving tests were voiced by Deputy Violet-Anne Wynne (SF) in a statement to The Clare Echo. She believed the introduction of a range of measures was necessary to deal with the backlog.

The Clare Echo has learned that over 3,200 people are scheduled to take the driver theory test in the coming month in Clare. There are currently 1,403 candidates eligible to sit a driving test with 79 scheduled to take a test in the county.

Last October, the Road Safety Authority requested approval for 80 additional testers. A spokesperson for the Department of Transport told The Clare Echo the hiring of a further 40 temporary testers for 22 months has been approved with the recruitment process underway. “These new hires will also be in addition to the 36 temporary testers which were previously sanctioned by the Department for rehire during 2020”.

Approval of extra testers, longer opening hours and running more tests per day must also be considered along with moving the driver theory test online, the Kilrush woman outlined.

She stated, “The driving test system has been thrown into chaos as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, but a lack of action from Minister Eamon Ryan has made a bad situation worse”.

Work to deliver an online theory test is ongoing, the Department have confirmed. “The online service has been trialled on a pilot basis for those taking a theory test for trucks and buses. It is now being evaluated with a view to extending the online service to all test types during 2021. However, much like the driver testing service, it will take time for the theory test service to return to normal waiting times”.

Clare councillors backed a motion from Cllr PJ Ryan (IND) in November which called on the Transport Minister to create test centres in areas where the population is greater than 6,000.

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