Categories
Community Local Issues Roads

“Driving Test waiting list of 45 thousand may be the tip of the iceberg,” Mattie McGrath

Press Release

20-03-2018

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has described statistics confirming the number of people waiting to be scheduled for a Driving Test as deeply alarming and a further indication of the disarray that is afflicting the learner driver system. Deputy McGrath was speaking after the RSA confirmed to him in a parliamentary reply that nationally, a total of 44,746 applicants are waiting to be scheduled for a test:

“These figures go to the heart of what I and others have been saying for some time now; that there is a chronic backlog afflicting this sector which in turn is creating serious knock-on consequences.

What is deeply alarming to me is that this number of almost 45 thousand does not include those who have already been scheduled for an upcoming test. The 45 thousand figure merely reflects those waiting to be given a testing date.

The RSA informs me that in part this is due to the number of Driver Tester retirements in the last 12 months, but it does not specify how many Testers have opted out of the system or why.

They have also told me that they have taken on 23 new Testers since 2016, but that only six of those will have commenced operating by this year. That is simply not good enough given the scale of the challenge.

In my county of Tipperary there are 1700 people waiting to be scheduled a driving test. This demonstrates the enormity of the problem at the local level.

What we are seeing here is that people simply cannot get a test within a reasonable period of time.

They cannot even get a date for a test. This is clearly creating massive levels of frustration and uncertainty throughout the both county and the country and it must be addressed with all the urgency that it demands,” concluded Deputy McGrath.

ENDS

Categories
Community Local Issues Roads Rural Ireland Transport

“Driving Test waiting list of 45 thousand may be the tip of the iceberg,” Mattie McGrath

Press Release

20-03-2018

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has described statistics confirming the number of people waiting to be scheduled for a Driving Test as deeply alarming and a further indication of the disarray that is afflicting the learner driver system. Deputy McGrath was speaking after the RSA confirmed to him in a parliamentary reply that nationally, a total of 44,746 applicants are waiting to be scheduled for a test:

“These figures go to the heart of what I and others have been saying for some time now; that there is a chronic backlog afflicting this sector which in turn is creating serious knock-on consequences.

What is deeply alarming to me is that this number of almost 45 thousand does not include those who have already been scheduled for an upcoming test. The 45 thousand figure merely reflects those waiting to be given a testing date.

The RSA informs me that in part this is due to the number of Driver Tester retirements in the last 12 months, but it does not specify how many Testers have opted out of the system or why.

They have also told me that they have taken on 23 new Testers since 2016, but that only six of those will have commenced operating by this year. That is simply not good enough given the scale of the challenge.

In my county of Tipperary there are 1700 people waiting to be scheduled a driving test. This demonstrates the enormity of the problem at the local level.

What we are seeing here is that people simply cannot get a test within a reasonable period of time.

They cannot even get a date for a test. This is clearly creating massive levels of frustration and uncertainty throughout the both county and the country and it must be addressed with all the urgency that it demands,” concluded Deputy McGrath.

ENDS

 

 

Categories
Community Roads Rural Ireland

Allocation towards Local Improvement Scheme 2018 welcomed – Deputy McGrath, Cllr. Lonergan, Cllr. Molloy

17/02/2018

Independent Public Representatives Deputy Mattie McGrath and Councillors Martin Lonergan and Richie Molloy have welcomed the allocation of funding towards the Local Improvement Scheme 2018 for Tipperary County Council.

A total of €625,582 has been allocated towards the Local Improvement Scheme 2018 in Tipperary which applies to non-public accommodation roads (farm roads and certain roads serving the public) and bog roads and to undertake minor drainage improvements. The project must be of benefit to agricultural production and benefit two or more parcels of land owned or occupied by different persons and is dependent on a financial contributions from the applicants of approximately 15% of the total cost of works.

Applications closed for eligible projects on 31 January last. Commenting on the announcement Deputy McGrath said, “Throughout the negotiations for the Programme for Government, I had fought hard to have this scheme re-introduced. It gives the Local Authorities the opportunity to tackle non-public roads which would have been previously over looked and in many cases would be in extremely poor condition.  

Now with the financial assistance of applicants, non-public accommodation roads, farm roads and certain roads serving the public can be strengthened and resurfaced and various drainage works can be finally carried out. I had appealed to the Department that funding for this scheme would be made available earlier in the year so that works can be carried out during the Local Authorities 2018 Road Works Programme during the spring and summer period and I am glad that this will now be the case unlike last year.

Welcoming the news, Cllr. Martin Lonergan added. “This is a really effective scheme to improve small roads, laneways and boreens which don’t come under the control of local authorities. These roads give access to homes, farmyards, agricultural land and business premises, and are often heavily used, but because they fall outside of direct local authority control, many need upgrading. 

It’s only right and fair that some of the motor tax, excise duty on fuel and local property tax paid by people in rural areas is invested in the repair of shared laneways that connect their homes, farms and businesses to the public road network. I want to thank Deputy Mattie McGrath and his Rural Independent Group colleagues who pressed for its inclusion in the current Programme for a Partnership Government.”

Cllr. Richie Molloy added, “I know how important this scheme is for people who live in rural areas – and often in very remote rural areas of the Clonmel/Cahir Borough District. This funding, in conjunction with the local community’s own resources and the resources of the Local Authority will allow for the maintenance and improvement of many local roads in the District. Allocations to Local Authorities is based on geographical size. The Department will fund up to 90% of the cost where there are 5 or fewer eligible residents or 85% of the cost of an eligible road where there are 6 or more eligible residents with the remaining 10% or 15% to be provided in cash by the residents. Tipperary County Council will be asked to revert back by the 23rd of March with a list of roads projects, including estimated cost, verification of agreement of the local contribution, and number of residents, as well as a secondary list of roads which would be considered should further funding become available.” 

While all three Representatives have welcomed this year’s allocation, they have been critical of Tipperary County Councils failure to apply for additional funding in the latter of 2017 which would have seen further non-public roads benefitting under the LIS Scheme. No excuse was forthcoming from the Local Authority while many Councils across the Country benefitted from extra monies.

***ENDS***

Categories
Local Issues Roads Rural Ireland

“Unscrupulous targeting of motorists by Insurance Industry must end,” Rural Independent Group

The Oireachtas Rural Independent Group has said that the government must definitively work to tackle the growing number of problems being experienced by drivers trying to obtain motor insurance cover. Members of the Rural Group were speaking ahead of a Dáil debate on its private members motion this evening that aims to have the matter of insurance cover refusals highlighted and addressed:

“There is mounting evidence from our constituencies that motorists who are in full possession of a valid NCT are routinely being denied access to cover by the insurance sector if their car is 10 years old.

This is an issue that is not only causing huge levels of frustration and concern among drivers, but it also speaks to the power of the sector to identify and apply punitive measures in a wholly inappropriate manner.

We are also deeply concerned about the ongoing and bizarre obstacles that are being placed in the way of returning Irish emigrants who may have years of legal and safe driving experience in a foreign country only to be denied the ability to transfer that safe driving history to this state.

Our Motion will also seek to address the near total failure of government to comprehensively address the issues surrounding increasing premiums and the extortionate costs associated with obtaining insurance.

The Rural Independent Group accepts that the issue of motor insurance fraud is a real challenge for the insurance sector, but that should not lead to attempts to claw back revenue through the apparently deliberate exclusion of certain categories of drivers who have done nothing wrong and are in compliance with the law.

We hope that to receive wide cross-party support for the Motion and look forward to highlighting the concerns of our constituents as well as the significant numbers of drivers who regularly contact us from across the country in sheer frustration at the contempt being levelled at them by some elements within the insurance sector.”

ENDS

Mattie McGrath, Michael Collins, Michael J. Healy-Rae, Noel Grealish, Danny Healy-Rae, Michael Harty.

 

Categories
Community Gardai Local Issues Roads Rural Ireland

“Proposed penalties for L Plate Drivers are grossly disproportionate and unworkable,” Mattie McGrath

14-02-2018

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on the Minister for Transport, Shane Ross, to immediately suspend proposals to increase the severity of penalties for unaccompanied L Plate drivers. Deputy McGrath was speaking after the Cabinet agreed to amend the Road Traffic Act to allow for increased fines and confiscation of vehicles, including farm yard and commercial vehicles:

“This proposal is utterly disproportionate and will generate massive amounts of resentment in rural Ireland in particular.

If Minister Ross is seriously suggesting a new regime whereby critical farm yard vehicles can be confiscated and the farmer can be jailed then he has truly gone off the deep end in terms of a detachment from rural life.

How does the Minister intend to put this bizarre proposal into practice? It is completely unworkable and has the potential to ruin farm and working families that are barely surviving as it is.

For many rural TD’s this smacks of yet another hair brained Cabinet initiative that reflects the absolute and increasing rural/urban divide at the heart of this government.

Telling farmers that that they can potentially be jailed or that they will have their machinery seized for allowing a son or daughter to drive a tractor across the yard is incredible nonsense.

What I am proposing is that we find a more proportionate and effective response to the critical and important issue of road safety that does not involve the excessive penalisation of one distinct element of the community, such as farmers and self employed people,” concluded Deputy McGrath.

 

 

Categories
Community Local Issues Parking Roads Rural Ireland Transport

“Insurance industry is actively undermining NCT certification process,” Mattie McGrath

Press Release

13-02-2018

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on the Minister of State with special responsibility for Financial Services and Insurance, Michael D’Arcy, to immediately investigate the growing practice of insurance companies denying cover to vehicles that are over ten years old. Deputy McGrath was speaking after being contacted by a significant number of people who are reporting that despite having a valid NCT, insurance companies are refusing to offer them any type of policy cover:

“What the insurance companies are engaging in is nothing short of despicable and it is causing huge frustration among the general public.

Last January, the Department of Finance launched its report on the Cost of Insurance in response to the scandalously high premiums that people were being forced to pay.

However, it is now the case that people are being increasingly denied even these kinds of extortionate rates and are simply being dismissed despite having a perfectly valid NCT certificate of roadworthiness.

I am suggesting to the Minister that we radically overhaul the car insurance system and devise a model whereby your insurance rate is linked to the actual use you make of your vehicle; something like a pay as you go model.

We need to do something to break the vicious monopoly of the insurance sector cartel and to hand the power back to the individual driver. As things stands, the sector is finding ever more creative ways of denying legitimate cover to drivers and this cannot be allowed to continue,” concluded Deputy McGrath.

END

 

Categories
Community Local Issues Press Releases Roads

McGrath welcomes funding for National Primary and Secondary Roads

Independent Tipperary TD, Mattie McGrath has in a statement today, welcomed funding of €13.06 million for National Primary and Secondary Roads for 2018 from Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII).

 

There has been a significant increase in funding from €2.16m in the current year to €13.06m for 2018. The largest amount of funding is for improvement or pavement works which increase from €1.37 to €12.26.

Some of the schemes which will benefit next year are N24 Tipperary Town (Davitt street, Main street and Fr Matthew street), N52 and N65 Borrisokane, N24 Clonmel Bypass Overlay, N24 Carrick on Suir( 2 sections of the N74, N62 Thurles (extension of current scheme into Liberty Square), N62 Lismackin (Roscrea) and the N74 Golden.

Commenting on the news Deputy McGrath said, “I am happy to welcome this funding which has substantially increased from previous years. During the talks on the formation of Government, I had fought hard to have roads funding for Tipperary increased as the County had severely suffered cuts to overall roads funding for almost 10 years.

In particular, I am delighted that the N24 through Tipperary Town including Davitt Street, Main Street and Fr Matthew Street is to receive €1.6m towards pavement strengthening and overlay. As many will be aware the condition of the surface of Main Street, Tipperary Town is in very poor condition with a number of years and this will finally be overcome.

€4m has been approved for the N24, Clonmel bypass overlay. Under Minor Works, I am pleased that €150,000 has been allocated for what’s known as Duggan’s bends at Ballydrehid, Cahir on the N24 which will hopefully increase safety issues and prevent further accidents at this location. Tipp Allocations 2018

Unfortunately however, funding allocated to the Maintenance Programme has been reduced by approximately €1m to €900,000 which is disappointing and which I intend lobbing to have reversed, but overall, the increase in the main National Roads Allocations for 2018 is very positive for Tipperary as a whole and has to be welcomed! I want to thank Minister Shane Ross for, in the first instance his visit to Tipperary to view some of the issues outlined and his and his Staffs input into securing this increase in funding for 2018,” concluded Deputy McGrath.

 

**ENDS**

 

 

Categories
Community Local Issues Roads Rural Ireland Social Issues

“Tipperary Co. Council to receive no new roads funding under improvement scheme,” Mattie McGrath

Press Release

30-11-2017
Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on the Chief Executive of Tipperary County Council, Joe MacGrath, to explain why the Authority, along with only three others in the State will receive no additional roads funding under the Local Improvement Scheme (LIS) for non-public rural roads in 2017. Deputy McGrath was speaking after the Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring TD, announced a further €7.4 million in funding for Local Authorities under the LIS initiative:
“The four local authorities in the state that are not getting an extra penny under the second round of funding allocations are Limerick, Louth, Wicklow and Tipperary.
Serious questions need to be asked about why this is the case given the obvious and clear need for roads improvements within the county.
This is particularly the case here because as the Minister says, funding will be provided to the Local Authorities based on the amounts they have requested and their stated capacity to complete the work before the end of the year.
Why then has Tipperary County Council not applied for the funding that is available? We need urgent clarification on this matter,” concluded Deputy McGrath.
ENDS

 

Categories
Parking Roads Transport

“Tipperary Parking Fines/Charges increased by almost €1.5m in just 4 years,” Mattie McGrath

Press Release

31-10-2017

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on Tipperary County Council to clarify the reasons why its income from Parking Fines and Charges increased from €1.6 million in 2014 to over €3.137 million in 2017. Deputy McGrath was speaking after it was found that the total income for the county from Parking Fines and Charges was over €11 million for the period 2014-2017:

“I think most people will be stunned at the amount of income that is being generated for the council from this single income stream.

My main concern here is that while we certainly need to encourage responsible parking activity, I would hope at the same time that we could do that without pursuing an excessively rigid and penalising regime.

Given that over €11 million has been collected since 2014 I would be concerned that an appropriate balance between charges and fines is being lost.

We all know how easily that can translate into an anti-business or anti-trade mentality developing.

People will simply avoid our towns or village centres if they believe that the parking system is unduly unfair.

We need to see some kind of justification for the scale of these fines and charges and an equally clear impact analysis from Tipperary County Council in terms of any negative impact this might be having.

In the run up to Christmas, when local businesses are depending on consumer spending, we need to address any issues that may exist so that people will not be put off coming into town,” concluded Deputy McGrath.

ENDS

 

Categories
Farming Local Issues Roads Transport Uncategorized

“New restrictions on farm tractors are grossly unfair and out of touch,” Mattie McGrath

Press Release

18-10-2017

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said the farming community has been left stunned by the decision of the Road Safety Authority (RSA) to implement new measures regulating the NCT rules for farm tractors. Deputy McGrath was speaking after it was confirmed that the RSA will now force tractors with a capacity greater or equal to 40kph to have an NCT where they travel distances of 25 kilometers:

“This new regulation cannot be described as anything but utter madness. It demonstrates a complete detachment from farming and agricultural reality.

There is a real feeling here that rules and regulations are being dreamt up with no sense of how they are going to impact farming families.

It is set to create a lot of frustration on top of the recent debacle around the increase in Stamp-Duty for agricultural land.

We need to have an immediate moratorium on this daft decision and a full review put in place to assess its impact.

At the very least this new measure will just confirm the existing view of the farming community that this is a government totally and dangerously out of touch,” concluded Deputy McGrath.

END