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Driving license centre to become ‘non-human’


CONTROVERSY The Castlebar National Driving License Service (NDLS) office is currently located on New Antrim Street.

Michael Gallagher

Humans are becoming obsolete and soon the government will pull down the shutters on rural Ireland. That was the message delivered at last week’s meeting of the Castlebar Municipal District when councillors reacted angrily to the permanent downgrading of the National Driving License Service (NDLS) in the county town.  Junior Transport Minister Hildegarde Naughten confirmed the downgrade in the Dáil last week and her decision was greeted with disdain in Castlebar.
“I’m disappointed and disgusted to hear that the licensing office is going to be non-human,” said Cllr Michael Kilcoyne. “No human can walk in and get their license any more.
"These people don’t even know Mayo exists and don’t care broadband is non-existent for some people. This is another step towards pulling down the shutters on the west of Ireland and soon the office will close completely because when there are no people being catered for there the work can be done from anywhere in the world. It will be sub-contratced to someone in Hong Kong, Pakistan or Louisburgh.”
Kilcoyne was supported by his colleague Cllr Blackie Gavin who said it was an atrocious decision by the government.
‘We cannot let this happen’
“This is another nail in the coffin of rural Ireland. It’s scandalous that there’s not a walk-in-service. What’s the thinking behind it? We cannot let this happen,” he stated.
Cllr Donna Sheridan then raised a very pertinent question when she queried the legality of the online service which requires a public service card.
“This is no lawful basis for a person to be told they needed the card for anything other than accessing social welfare or benefits,” Cllr Sheridan stated and also raised another interesting problem.
“Some women do not have their own PPS numbers. They have their husband’s number with a W at the end and this will also cause utter confusion and frustration online. A lot of people are not aware of this and it will cause huge issues,” she stated before Cllr Ger Deere said the office needs to be kept open and an even better service provided.
“Even when it was open it wasn’t ideal. They wouldn’t accept cash and many elderly people would come across to Alan Dillon’s constituency office to try and sort it.
There should have also be a disabled parking spot outside the office too,” Cllr Deere exclaimed before Kilcoyne cut in.
“Instead of putting a disabled parking spot outside the door they’ve decided to take away the entire office.”