The IFA president Tim Cullinan has called for the immediate resumption of the driver theory test service.

The service was supposed to resume last Tuesday, but it remains suspended until further notice.

Cullinan said he previously wrote to Minister Hildegarde Naughton pointing out that there are many essential workers who need to secure a category B and/or W driver licence in order to deliver essential services on farms during the summer, and as part of employment with agricultural contractors.


Minister Hildegarde Naughton confirmed in the Dáil last week that the driver theory test has not been classified as an essential service and will remain closed.

An online pilot allows candidates to take their driver theory test for buses and trucks remotely from their own home, the IFA has said.

“While pre-pandemic capacity was approximately 15,000 tests per month, the rollout of this online option for cars is planned to begin during May, with up to 3,000 online car driver theory tests being conducted per month,” it said.


Cullinan said that the backlog of candidates waiting for a test continues to grow and that capacity must be increased to make online testing available for essential workers without further delay.

Last week, Kerry TD Danny Healy-Rae said that traditionally farmers' sons and daughters could do their theory test when they became 16 years of age, get their provisional license and drive a tractor to help out on the farm or get a job locally for the summer.

“This is not possible now. Now, young drivers cannot do the theory test, cannot get their provisional license, and can’t get on the road.

“It is essential for everybody to have a licence in rural Ireland,” he said.

He asked the Tánaiste Leo Varadkar last week to ask the testers to work on Saturdays and Sundays to deal with the backlog and to ensure that the theory test can be applied for online for all learner drivers to get on the road.