There are no imminent plans to open a new National Driving Licence Service office at the new RSA Driving Test centre in Dundalk, councillors of the Dundalk Municipal District have been told.
The local authority had written to the NDLS earlier in the year to request that a part time office be set up to deal with applications or renewals in the Dundalk and wider north Louth area.
That communication stemmed from a motion tabled at February’s Dundalk Municipal District meeting when Fianna Fáil councillor Sean Kelly called on a part time office at the Newry Road site to be opened with immediate effect.
In written correspondence to Louth County Council, the Road Safety Authority say that they have developed a new online application portal which means they have no additional plans to open new in-person offices.
‘Substantial work has been ongoing to develop an online application that all license customers will be able to use’, RSA’s Director of Driver Testing and Licensing Declan Naughton wrote.
‘We expect that this will be going live in the coming months. This will enable customers to apply for their license of permit at any time of their choosing. For that reason, while the current NDLS Offices will continue to provide a service, we do not plan to open any further NDLS centres.’
There remains only one such centre in Louth, located at the Southgate Shopping Centre in Drogheda.
Speaking to LouthNow.ie on Tuesday, Cllr Kelly said: “There is still going to be a small minority of people who aren’t tech savvy or elderly who still drive who won’t be able to apply online. There are the ones who will have to drive to Southgate in Drogheda which makes no sense whatsoever.
“We’re letting the able bodied people who are well fit to make the journey ant sit there in Southgate sit at home and do the process online but the elderly who don’t have access or don’t know how to use an application online, we’re making them make the trip. It makes no sense whatsoever.
There is a state-of-the-art office out there. Why can’t there be something there one day a week to deal with the elderly and other people that can’t make the trip. If the application goes online over the next couple of months, why can’t they do it on a temporary basis? It’s not asking much.
On the proposed new online facility for driving license applications, the Dundalk-Carlingford councillor added; “I’d take that with a pinch of salt. It may never materialise.”