A total of 4,840 learner drivers County Galway are waiting for a test - 1,104 of them in Galway City - according to figures released by the Road Safety Authority.
The situation has led Galway politicians to call on the Minister for Transport, Eamon Ryan, to "take decisive action" to deal with this issue. While it is understood that there is a plan to mitigate waiting times, it has yet to receive approval from the Department of Transport.
Labour city councillor, and former Mayor of Galway city, Niall McNelis, said the Minister must introduce and approve a 10 week turnaround plan. He said the current RSA Level 5 guidance on testing "does not make sense".
'This is a huge issue for people in rural Ireland, where public transport simply isn’t an option'
“The RSA says that an applicant needs to be an essential worker, yet in the same breath the RSA admits it has no way of knowing if you are," said Cllr McNelis. "It makes a mockery of the situation if someone is desperately seeking an appointment they will say what they can to get that appointment rather than wait indefinitely."
Sinn Féin Galway East representative, Louis O'Hara, who secured 16.7 per cent of first preference votes at the February General Election, and who lasted until the eighth and final count, has called for additional driving instructors and testers, along with longer opening hours and weekend tests.
The situation is such that many of those on the waiting list will not be tested until 2021. Mr O'Hara said this is an intolerable mutation for people in rural Ireland.
“With public transport down to 25 per cent capacity, this is causing massive problems for people who need a licence to get to work,?" he said. "It’s a huge issue for people in rural Ireland, where public transport simply isn’t an option. In addition, the driver theory test has been suspended until early December, causing further delays for those needing to learn to drive."