Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on the Minister for Transport Pascal Donohue to temporarily suspend his decision to introduce the application of penalty points to all drivers found to be without a valid NCT Certificate. Deputy McGrath was speaking after the Order of Business in the Dáil today where he also called on the Taoiseach to re-examine the legislative impact of the Ministers decision in light of the massive delays in scheduling appointments for NCT tests:
“This is another classic example of a Government Minister putting the cart before the horse.
No one is suggesting there should be a free for all approach to vehicles on public roads without a valid NCT certificate.
But to introduce this measure in light of the fact that the waiting times for tests are unjustifiably long seems to me to be totally unfair.
The Minister is effectively penalising motorists where they have no capacity to be compliant and so can avoid the penalty points and fine situation arising.
Let him first of all get to grips with the need for the Road Safety Authority, under whom the NCT tests are carried out, to be provided with more testing staff.
Then it might make sense to go ahead with the points system when the turn-around time for tests is significantly improved.
Perhaps the Minister would also clarify if the provisions in the NCT Customer Charter which state that the customer will be provided with a test free of charge where an appointment cannot be offered within a four week period still applies.
This is something people need to know so that at the very least they can avoid extra costs accruing.
The NCT charter also says that customers are entitled to a free test if they have to wait more than 60 minutes after the appointment time before the test begins.
It is strange that we have heard nothing about these cost saving measures from the Minister who is clearly aware of the stress this is causing to thousands of motorists,” concluded Deputy McGrath.