BACKING FOR LUCID POST OFFICE PLAN
COMMUNICATION MINISTER SUPPORTS KERRY CLLR’S PROPOSALS IN SEANAD
COMMUNICATIONS Minister Denis Naughten has given his backing to Kerry County Councillor John Lucid’s suggestion that motorists should be able to renew their driving licences in post offices.
Cllr Lucid – who is Cathaoirleach of the Listowel Municipal District – made the proposal at the September meeting of Kerry County Council when he called on council management to contact the National Driving Licence Service to investigate if his suggestion would be a viable.
At present post offices are able to process passport applications and Cllr Lucid said a similar system should be introduced for driving licences.
This would help protect the future of rural post offices that are threatened with closure and make renewing a licence for more convenient for people living in more isolated areas.
Cllr Lucid’s proposal has now gained national traction after it was highlighted in the Seanad by Mayo based Fianna Fáil senator Keith Swanick who raised Cllr Lucid’s suggestion with Communications Minister Denis Naughten during last week’s Seanad debate on the future of the post office network.
“I commend my Fianna Fáil Party colleague on Kerry County Council, Councillor John Lucid, who has proposed that the National Driver Licence Service be asked if driving licence renewals could be made available through the post office network. In his own county, Tralee is the only location where one can renew one’s licence. For some people that is a three-hour round journey. As I have said, certain cohorts of people are being disenfranchised, especially the elderly community,” said Senator Swanick.
“I urge the Minister to consider the idea of the National Driver Licence Service being located in post offices,” Senator Swanick said.
In reply Minister Naughten said he was in favour of Cllr Lucid’s suggestion.
“On the issue of the driver licence, there were issues at the time of the tendering process in respect of the criteria that were used and the bid that was made by An Post. It is hugely frustrating, not just in counties like Mayo and Kerry but in my own county of Roscommon, where people have to travel to Roscommon town to avail of this service,” said Minister Naughten.
“It is a service that can and should be provided in the post offices. This contract will be coming up for renewal. There are many more services. The example we have given in the past is motor tax, which is only one of a myriad of services that could be provided. I am one of only five Members of the Oireachtas who made a submission to the Kerr report. Very few Deputies and Senators did so. I specifically focused on that point in my submission. I am determined to see it delivered upon,” Minister Naughten said.
Fianna Fáil Cllr John Lucid