Sinn Féin TD for Sligo Leitrim Martin Kenny yesterday raised the ‘closure by stealth’ of the local National Driver Licence Service office in Carrick-on-Shannon, following confirmation from government that the service will not return to walk-in appointments.
Speaking earlier today, Teachta Kenny said, “Before 2020, you could drop into the NDLS centre with the relevant documents and have your licence renewed. It was understandable that during the pandemic, the service moved to being appointments based due to social distancing requirements.
“Now that this public health requirement is behind us, the government have confirmed they will not return to providing a walk in service for something that is an essential requirement in the state.
“I have people coming to me in need of licence renewals who cannot get through on the NDLS phoneline. If they try to book online, they need to use a Public Services Card. Many people do not have one, and the appointment system to get one is even longer than that to renew a licence.
“Above all else, government is already in hot water with the Public Service Card system – which we were all led to believe was only for use by the Department of Social Protection.
“In order to do something as simple as renew a drivers licence now, people in Leitrim, and indeed across rural Ireland, are facing barriers such as poor access to broadband, and telephone lines under increased pressure, to even make an appointment.
“NDLS are providing an essential state service, it must be restored to the system it was once at, instead of this closure by stealth.”