Tim Cullinan - the IFA President is calling for the driver theory test to be classified as an essential service
Irish Farmers Association (IFA) President, Tim Cullinan, has written to Minister of State at the Department of Transpor,t Hildegarde Naughton, appealing for the Department to allow candidates to take the Driver Theory Test remotely.
“I pointed out to Minister Naughton that there are many essential workers who need to secure a Category B and/or W Driver Licence in order to deliver essential services on farms during the Summer, and as part of employment with agricultural contractors," stressed Mr Cullinan.
The Government decided recently not to classify the Driver Theory Test as an essential service and the suspension of the service until May 4. This has had a serious impact on rural areas like Leitrim where essential workers employed in agriculture require a Category B and/or W Driver Licence in order to work during the summer on farms.
However, Mr Cullinan noted that the ProProctor Remote Testing option allows candidates for certain Tests (currently Bus/Truck, Approved Driving Instructor and Driver Certificate of Professional Competence) to take their Driver Theory Test from the comfort of their own home.
“The RSA has stated that the service is reliable and convenient while delivering a secure testing experience. This service must be extended to candidates applying for other driver licence categories such as cars (Category B) and tractors (Category W),” said Mr Cullinan.
“Farming, farm labour, crop and animal production, farm relief services, and the provision of support services relating to any of the agricultural services specified are all included in the Government’s list of essential services at Level 5," he noted.
Adding to the pressure is the fact that many elderly farmers are still cocooning and there is a need for younger members of their family to be able to hold a licence to assist in farm works over the coming months. However this will only be possible if they hold a licence to do so.
“These essential workers should be allowed to compete their Essential Driving Training in order to take their Driving Test and obtain their Driving Licence," said Mr Cullinan.