April 1st: Unite, which represents driving instructors working throughout Ireland, today (Thursday) welcomed the decision by the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Transport and Communications Networks to write to Transport Minister Eamon Ryan highlighting the impact of Covid-19 on driving testing and instructors. The Committee’s intervention follows Unite’s appearance before the Committee two weeks ago during which the union stressed the need to support instructors while also arguing that lessons for essential workers must be resumed to ensure that the driving test backlog can be swiftly cleared once public health restrictions are eased. In their recommendations to the Minister, the Committee notes that Approved Driving Instructors should be supported by the Department of Transport and the Road Safety Authority to service additional demand, and also notes that ADIs should be supported to operate through the pandemic. The Committee statement and a summary of its recommendations are available here.
Commenting, Unite Regional Officer Jean O’Dowd said:
“Since the start of the pandemic, Unite members working as driving instructors have repeatedly sought meaningful engagement with both the Road Safety Authority and the Department of Transport. We welcome the Committee’s recognition that driving instructors will be central to clearing the testing backlog, and we hope that their letter to the Minister will result in his Department and the RSA engaging directly with our members to address their concerns.
“Unite and our members working as ADIs are eager to work with the Road Safety Authority and the Department of Transport to resolve current issues and to improve and progress driver education in the future. I hope that today’s intervention by the Committee will set us firmly along the path to a new collaborative approach in the interests of driving instructors, learner drivers and the wider travelling public”, Ms O’Dowd concluded.