Deputy Fergus O'Dowd.
Fine Gael TD Fergus O’Dowd has written to the Chief Executive of the Road Safety Authority (RSA), Mr Sam Waide, asking him to outline their plans for the provision of a driver test centre in Drogheda.
Deputy O’Dowd points out in his letter that the current arrangement whereby a test centre is housed at the Drogheda Town Football Club at Marian Park is a temporary one and comes to an end in February 2023.
Deputy O’Dowd emphasises his ongoing concerns about the need to secure a permanent driver test centre for Drogheda which, he says to Mr. Waide, is Ireland’s largest town with a wider catchment population of circa 100k people.
“This is a matter which I have been raising over the last six years directly with your predecessor, Ms Moyagh Murdock, the previous Director of Finance, Pearse White, and the previous Director of Driver Testing, Declan Naughton” O’Dowd said.
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“I have held a number of face to face meetings with the RSA including a very productive meeting with Ms Murdock a number of years ago. Most recently I met with Mr Naughton in April where we discussed the unacceptable situation in Drogheda as our wait time for testing is the longest in the country.
“In fact on the RSA website this morning, it estimates that it will be the 16th of January 2023 before you will receive an invite for a driving test in Drogheda which is completely unacceptable. However this pales in comparison to the seriousness of the situation if an alternate site is not secured before the end of the current 3 year lease at the Marian Park Site next February.
“Notwithstanding the excellent service the interim centre has provided to date, we are now in the final six months of the contract and the RSA have already confirmed to me that they will not be extending the current agreement, has this position changed in anyway?
“The RSA representatives have consistently reaffirmed to me that your organisation is committed to providing a permanent centre in the town and I would ask that you revert to me with the RSA’s plan to deal with the issue.”
O’Dowd said it was his opinion that the council owned site in Mell which has previously been proposed and assessed by the RSA and Louth County Council fits the bill for the driver test centre.
“I again impressed upon the RSA the need to further review this site in my most recent meeting with Mr Naughton in April. Can you provide any details on whether this further review/assessment was carried out?”
O’Dowd said that no stone should be left unturned to ensure a continuation of service as any diminution of the current interim service would be entirely unacceptable to the people of Drogheda.