The Kerryman (Tralee Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - By SI­MON BROUDER

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

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