THE DUP has accused the Minister of Infrastructure of falling asleep at the wheel after a resumption date for driving tests.
trangford MLA Michelle McIlveen, the chairman of Stormont’s Infrastructure Commission, called on Nichola Mallon to provide a date as soon as possible.
“Young people are missing out on opportunities because they cannot pass the driving test,” she said.
“It is time for Minister Mallon to take the wheel, put his foot down and continue the reopening of driving tests for everyone.
“Driving instructors are back to work, but their students cannot book a test.
“The minister says she is working on a plan to get driving tests operational, but it is not urgent.
“Young people have not been able to get a driver’s license for more than four months.”
However, the SDLP said the minister was particularly concerned about public safety and accused Miss McIlveen of irresponsibility.
“It is quite shocking that the chairman of the committee, who is well aware that a risk assessment must be completed before returning to driving test services, asks that the service be resumed,” said a spokesman.
“Is the chairman really saying that no risk assessments are needed?
“It is abundantly clear that the minister’s priority is to protect employees and customers from Covid-19.
“She has already said she hopes to make an announcement this week.
“Driving tests have just started this week in England and the south – and Wales has said it hopes to restore the tests on August 17. No date has been set yet for Scotland. This is not an easy problem and it is simply irresponsible for the DUP to pretend that it is. “
All driving tests were suspended when Northern Ireland was blocked by the corona virus in March.
Yesterday it appeared that the engine test, which should start again on July 6, was delayed.
The driving license certificates for students have also been extended by eight months because the practical exams have stalled.
The news came when it was revealed that despite the ongoing coronavirus crisis, the Assembly would lock the store up for the rest of the summer.
After this Tuesday, no further meetings are scheduled until September, even though there is a huge backlog of legislation that could lead to a crash later this year.
Most, if not all, of the Assembly’s control committees, including the major financial and economic groups, are not planning to meet again before autumn.
However, MLAs can be recalled in the event of an emergency, such as a second spike of the virus, and ministers remain in office, although there are reports that the Executive will take his usual summer vacation.
Temporary Assembly speaker Jim Wells said: “We will continue until the end of July and our recess will be much shorter than Westminster’s.
“Many MLAs have canceled their summer vacation and work on the grassroots continues.
“We may still be called back if the coronavirus situation worsens.
“I’m on the finance committee and we don’t plan to come back until September, but that could suddenly change.”
Live on Sunday