14 February 2023
By Tom Collins
Independent TD for Cork South-West Michael Collins has once again made an urgent appeal for the recruitment of additional driver tester staff for the Skibbereen Driving Test centre.
Deputy Collins raised the matter directly with the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, in the Dáil, where he pleaded with him to intervene with the Road Safety Authority in order to ensure that a second driver tester can be appointed to the Skibbereen centre.
Just one full-time tester was appointed at the end of December.
According to Deputy Collins however, the demand for tests, a massive backlog of applications and the geographical breadth of the West Cork region are all conspiring to create a crisis situation for young drivers in particular:
“This is the second Taoiseach that I have raised this matter with directly on the floor of the Dáil and so I can only hope that he listens and acts with a greater degree of urgency than his predecessor did,” said Deputy Collins.
“The RSA informed us all in November that it will continue to service the Skibbereen Driving Test centre either via staff headquartered in Skibbereen or from resources based elsewhere such as in Cork as demand requires. But that is simply not good enough. We need at least two full-time testers operating a permanent basis.”
“Given the overwhelming and disproportionate level of dependency on cars that exists here, the RSA simply must wake up and realise that it cannot continue to treat the West Cork staff vacancies in the same way that it might treat other more urban areas of the country.”
“We are talking about a huge geographical area from Ballinhassig, out west to Skibbereen, and up into Beara and the Mizen Head and Sheep’s Head peninsulas. Regardless of how heroically efficient a tester might be, they are never going to adequately cover such an area and get through the backlog that is building by the day.”
“It is not fair to subject the young people of West Cork to 7 month waiting lists, but it is also not fair on the lone driver tester upon which the whole system is depending,” Deputy Collins concluded.