The national driver theory test service, provided by private operator Prometric, is incapable of providing sufficient testing capacity to meet demand, with no driver theory tests available in Dublin or Cork until 2021. This is according to Workers’ Party representative Éilis Ryan. 

Ms. Ryan said: 

“Currently, there are no driver theory tests available within an hour’s drive of Dublin between now and January 2021. Similarly in Cork. Outside of Dublin and Cork, there are sporadic test dates available in some remote testing centres, with most other urban areas facing similar backlogs. 

“This means that individuals are facing 4-6 month delays in even starting the process of learning to drive.” 

Ryan continued: 

“Clearly, we are in unprecedented times and Covid-19 has meant dramatically reduced testing capacity. But it is obvious that many public services have adapted far more quickly and far better than this. 

“Prometric had six full months to acquire additional premises, expand testing capacity, and plan for both social distancing and the backlog of applicants waiting to do their test after lockdown. This scale of backlog indicates none of this planning took place at all.” 

Ryan concluded: 

“I am calling on the Minister for Transport to make provision, via a publicly-provided service within his department, for expanded testing capacity to clear this backlog. 

“This should be used as a first step towards phasing out the privatisation of the driver theory testing service, to be replaced by a far more efficient public service.”