There needs to be a complete re-think on how the new National Driving Licence Service (NDLS ) centre at Ballybrit works as it is not fit for purpose, that is according to MEP for Midlands-North West Jim Higgins.
MEP Higgins, who is Ireland’s member of the European Parliament Transport Committee, made the comments during a visit to Galway city last Saturday. MEP Higgins has written to the relevant authority, the Road Safety Authority (RSA ), highlighting a number of issues at the Galway NDLS centre, including the lack of a direct telephone number and the 10 day wait for responses to queries made through the email address provided on the NDLS website.
“The idea of a new plastic driving licence is something that I welcome – it is far more convenient. However, there are a number of issues regarding the practicalities of getting such a licence. The National Driving Licence Service centre in Ballybrit is simply not up to standard.
“First on the list, is that it is not possible to schedule an appointment with the centre in Ballybrit over the phone or online. You have to turn up, and hope the line of people is not too bad. Secondly, the building is located miles out of town, which is difficult for people without a car to access. Thirdly, even if you are travelling by car, the NDLS centre is not very well signposted.
“There is also no receptionist, and no queuing system in operation once you do arrive in the offices. This to me is unacceptable, especially since members of the public are paying €55 for a new licence. These are issues which need to be tackled straight away,” said MEP Higgins, who added that the while the staff at the centre are pleasant the problems lie in the overall set-up.
The Fine Gael MEP was busy on the campaign trail on Saturday in preparation for the European Parliament elections which will be held in Ireland on Friday, May 23. Enjoying the sunshine and the Galway Food Festival, Higgins, who was voted MEP of the year 2014 for transport, was joined by supporters and local representatives including Galway West TDs Sean Kyne and Brian Walsh, as well as city councillors Michelle Murphy, Mayor Padraig Conneely, Cllr Frank Fahy and county councillor Seosamh Ó Laoi.