DUP East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell has said the Infrastructure Minister must get a grip of her Department and answer serious questions about the driving test fiasco in Northern Ireland.
Mr Campbell was commenting in the context of a major public row in England where the booking system for the restart of testing has been plagued by technical issues. Young people are now claiming it would be easier to book a ticket for Glastonbury than to book a driving test.
Commenting Mr Campbell said,
“My colleague Michelle McIlveen MLA has been pressing the Minister on this matter in her role as Chair of the Infrastructure Committee and has asked very pertinent questions about:
- how many examiners will be made available?
- how many appointments will be available per day?
- what is the assessed backlog?
- how many centres will be open?
- and that the Minister needs to publish a plan for the restart of practical tests.
In response to concerns about delays to driving tests a spokesperson for the Department for Infrastructure claimed "it will take six to eight weeks to clear the backlog" of driving tests in Northern Ireland.
Does the Minister agree with this assessment? If so can Nichola Mallon publish what the backlog will be?
There are young people who have purchased cars, paid thousands for insurance and tax in advance of lockdown and are now facing the prospect of not being able to sit their driving test until next year.
At the moment in Northern Ireland no one can even book a practical test until 1 September. The phone lines will be jammed, and the website will be creaking at the seams. Action and answers are needed by the Minister.”