O’Dowd needs to get a grip of MoT fiasco – Lockhart

Upper Bann MP Carla Lockhart has called on Sinn Fein Infrastructure Minister John O’Dowd MLA to get a grip on the shambolic situation facing those requiring a vehicle MOT or driving test, as waiting times are at record levels again.

By Carla Lockhart Candidate

Upper Bann

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Calling on the Minister to publish the DVA plan to get delays under control, Carla Lockhart said:

“This is a fiasco which my DUP colleague Keith Buchannan warned the DVA about two years ago. At a special DfI Committee meeting, we were assured of a plan to fix the backlog. If there is a plan to get the delays under control, the plan has failed and needs rewritten.

I have constituents who are facing months of delays in getting a vehicle MOT. Some are even travelling to other parts of the UK to get their MoT because they are unable to tax their vehicle.

Whilst John O’Dowd drives around in his Ministerial car and his senior officials avail of the Civil Service carpool, many of our constituents in Upper Bann face weeks, if not months, of uncertainty about the use of their vehicle.

It is beyond comprehension that we are still facing this situation. As we emerged from lockdown there was at least a rationale for the backlog and the delay in obtaining a test date, but we are now well past the point where this should be the case. This reeks of poor planning, poor oversight and a Department that is in a leadership freefall.

Now is the time for the Minister to put a realistic plan in place. Temporary Exemption certificates can be part of that plan to alleviate the pressures on motorists. But what we really need is an action plan for vehicle testing and driving tests that works.

Sinn Fein made plenty of attacks on Nichola Mallon for her amateurish handling of MOT testing two years ago, but John O’Dowd is making her look competent. It’s time for the Minister to do his job, and sort this mess out. The frontline staff are doing their best. They need greater support from the Minister and management.”

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