THE NATIONAL Driver Licence Service have responded to reports that they have 'downgraded' services at their Limerick and Ennis branches.
In the Dáil last week, Junior Transport Minister Hildegarde Naughten said that the temporary downgrading of services due to Covid-19 had been made permanent.
She said: "The current NDLS contract, which was put in place with the front office service provider in 2021, no longer offers a walk-in service."
She outlined that an online service is available for all application types but stated that a "verified MyGovlD account, which requires a public services card (PSC), is needed" to avail of the online service.
This means that those who do not hold a PSC must attend the centres in person, however many people have shared their experiences of not being able to make appointments.
A spokesperson for the NDLS have told the Limerick Leader that the offices, including the one in the Parkway Shopping Centre, have not been downgraded.
They said the offices operate a booked appointment service which "facilitates the management of demand and capacity".
Their statement read: "Appointments are booked in 10 minutes slots and customers can be assured of the service within their allotted time.
"Based on efficiencies the NDLS does not offer a walk-in appointment service. Appointments are made available through a booking system which can be accessed online at www.ndls.ie or by telephone 0818919090.
"Currently, there are 40.56% of appointments available across the network over the next five weeks which equates to 25,537 appointments.
"A person can make an application for a driving licence or learner permit on line where they hold a public services card.
In addition to the above all drivers aged 70 years and over are offered a postal option to renew their driving licence or learner permit."
Clare TD Michael McNamara raised the issue of difficulties encountered by his constituents in availing of the NDLS service in Ennis and explained to the Minister that not everybody was able to go online.
Deputy McNamara informed the Minister that a woman in her 80’s had told him she spent an hour and a half on the phone trying in vain to get an appointment. The TD’s office rang the NDLS and spent 45 minutes waiting but nobody answered.
Another constituent took time out of work to attend his appointment in the NDLS Centre in Ennis and his paperwork was in order – only to discover that the staff would not accept cash from him and he did not have a card.
He rang his wife for card details but this would not be accepted as his wife was not present.
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