Independent TD for Donegal Thomas Pringle has slammed Government for what he called the steady roll-back of public service provision by successive governments.
Speaking on the scaling back of the National Driver Licence Service, Pringle said that the lack of walk-in service impacts those in rural counties and the elderly the most.
“It is easy for ourselves in here or younger citizens to navigate new online systems. So the burden falls on the older generations, or those without broadband, who tend to be rural, or those who simply cannot afford a broadband service. These are the people targeted by such moves,” he said.
The deputy said: “This is why the motion today to restore the NDLS walk-in service is important. It’s important to my constituents in Donegal as most of us will wait until 2025 for the government’s roll-out of broadband. It’s important for my constituents in Donegal as we have a higher proportion of older people than nationally. It’s important as well to my constituents in Donegal as we have lower disposable income and higher deprivation rates than most of the country. These issues are common for most of us from rural constituencies right across the western seaboard.”
Deputy Pringle said it was vitally important that these services remain in public ownership and open to the public.
Deputy Pringle said: “The issue of a walk-in service for renewal of a driving licence or indeed the contracting of the National Driver Licence Service may appear to many in this house to be inconsequential or beneath the highbrow issues more becoming of deliberation in the Dáil chamber.
“And yes, at face value that may appear to be true. But what we have to realise is these are just two examples of a steady creep of incessant roll-back of public service provision brought to you by successive Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil governments,” he said.