Politicians contacting the RSA to get constituents bumped up the waiting list for driving tests is “not queue jumping”, TD Mattie McGrath has said.
Since the pandemic, a backlog of people trying to secure driving licences has built up and since then the authorities have been inundated with correspondence from politicians.
Between January 2021 and September this year, there were 1,237 requests from Oireachtas members asking for constituents to be fast-tracked with Mr McGrath revealed to have sent one a week on average.
“People are forced to come into our offices and contact Oireachtas members because they can’t deal with this system operated by the RSA,” he told Newstalk Breakfast.
“And it’s across the board; it’s the same with NCTs and the same with driving licences - everything.
“There’s a waiting list of four months in Tipperary and that has improved from where it was but if someone comes into the country, returns having been abroad and their licence has expired… you can’t go to Mass or school or work in the country if you don’t have a car.
“And why wouldn’t they come to us to see if we can help them?”
Deputy McGrath added that, “It’s not queue jumping; it’s trying to get a service.”
Conspiratorially, he continued that the long wait for tests were deliberately created by the Green party to keep people from driving.
“I honestly believe at this stage, in the dying days of 2022, that it’s all a policy across Government initiated by Minister Ryan to try and force people out of cars,” he insisted.
“How can it be so bad?”
Newstalk Breakfast presenter Shane Coleman responded that, “There is absolutely no evidence of that” and a Green party spokesperson said there was, "No credibility to Mattie McGrath's claim” and that the backlog was due to COVID-19.
Shane also suggested there are more important things for a TD to be doing.
“Of course there are but what’s more important?” Deputy McGrath replied.
“When a parent rings me because they’re weary of driving their son or daughter to work with their learner permits… Sure, the system is failing us.
“I remember a time when I got my test and I walked into the county council, paid my money, got my licence, got on the road with less of this bureaucracy.”
Main image: Mattie McGrath TD. Photograph: Leah Farrell / RollingNews.ie