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Order of Business

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Senator Victor Boyhan

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Order of Business
Snippet Contents:

I join previous speakers in congratulating all those involved in the restoration.
I thank the Leader for organising a debate on housing which is well overdue. I am particularly delighted that the Minister is coming into the Chamber to speak about the issue. It is important that he tell us what his plans and changes are in terms of a reconfiguration of Rebuilding Ireland within 12 months. It will be an interesting debate.
The principal issue I wish to raise relates to a letter I received from the Road Safety Authority about driving tests. We know that many third level students have returned or are returning to university in a matter of weeks, but the driving test waiting lists are an absolute scandal. The Road Safety Authority wrote to me on 21 September confirming that Athlone, Buncrana, Castlebar, Churchtown, Clifden, Clonmel, Dungarvan, Finglas, Kilrush, Loughrea, Nenagh, Portlaoise, Raheny, Skibbereen, Tuam, Tullamore and another 48 towns were on a list of places where people were waiting between 21 and 26 weeks for a driving test. It is an unbelievable scandal that people cannot take a test and receive a full licence, particularly those in rural parts of Ireland who wish to access third level education and employment. I was speaking to someone from Buncrana who has two third level students registered to start university in Derry in two weeks' time, but they cannot go there because of the transport issue. Given the current state of driving test waiting lists, as confirmed in the letter of 21 September to me, we should at least have the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Deputy Shane Ross, come to the House to explain what exactly he and those in his Department are doing to address the crisis.