The Driver Theory Test “must be classified as an essential service” – with numerous essential workers needing to secure a driving licence to provide vital services on farms this summer, according to the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA).

IFA president Tim Cullinan has written to Minister of State at the Department of Transport Hildegarde Naughton to allow candidates to take the Driver Theory Test remotely.

Commenting on the matter, Cullinan said:

“I pointed out to Minister Naughton that there are many essential workers who need to secure a Category B [standard car] and/or W [work vehicle] Driver Licence in order to deliver essential services on farms during the summer, and as part of employment with agricultural contractors.

According to the IFA, the government decided recently not to classify the Driver Theory Test as an essential service and the suspension of the service was announced until May 4.

However, the association notes that the ProProctor Remote Testing option allows candidates for certain tests (currently Bus/Truck, Approved Driving Instructor and Driver Certificate of Professional Competence) to take their Driver Theory Test “from the comfort of their own home”.

Continuing, the IFA president said: “The RSA [Road Safety Authority] has stated that the service is reliable and convenient while delivering a secure testing experience.

“This service must be extended to candidates applying for other driver licence categories such as cars (Category B) and tractors (Category W).

“Farming, farm labour, crop and animal production, farm relief services, and the provision of support services relating to any of the agricultural services specified are all included in the government’s list of essential services at Level 5,” he added.

“These essential workers should be allowed to compete their essential driving training in order to take their driving test and obtain their driving licence,” Cullinan concluded.