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'not good enough' Man (82) says he was told to wait outside in the rain while his car went through the NCT

Ray McGrath (82), from Waterford, warned the Government it is "simply not good enough" for elderly people to be put in such a position.

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NCT test centre

NCT test centre

NCT test centre

AN EIGHTY-TWO year old pensioner was required to stand outside in the cold and rain while waiting for his car to be NCT tested.

Ray McGrath (82), from Waterford, warned the Government it is "simply not good enough" for elderly people to be put in such a position.

He said he was shocked when he was advised to wear appropriate clothing when he brought his car for the NCT test centre on March 10 only to discover the single seat in an indoor waiting area was not available because of Covid-19 pandemic controls.

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Ray McGrath

Ray McGrath

Ray McGrath

Mr McGrath, a member of Waterford's Council for Older People, was advised he had to wait outside the test centre because of Covid-19 control policies.

These limit the number of people who are allowed to wait inside the test centre for precautionary reasons.

A single indoor seat is available at the centre where up to four cars are tested at any one time.

“It is simply not good enough that older people are expected to stand outside in the wind and rain if the single indoor seat is occupied,”

he said.

Mr McGrath subsequently wrote to the NCT and warned the waiting arrangements were totally unacceptable.

“While NCTS have put in place two alleviating features – provision of ponchos and one seat inside – I deem these measures to be completely inadequate."

"What happens if the seat is already occupied? What happens if a person who wishes to comply with the Covid-19 regulations is reluctant to ask about using the seat?"

"I did not see a notice about use of the seat,” he said.

Mr McGrath said he couldn't understand while a bank of seats was reversed against a wall inside the test centre when, by removing them, another socially distanced seat could be provided.

The NCT said it had taken careful measures to address issues surrounding Covid-19 concerns at its test centres.

“Unfortunately, we cannot forecast the future of this pandemic and whilst we appreciate the difficulties Covid-19 is presenting to us all, the only alternative at this time is to ask customers to wear appropriate clothing as seating in the waiting area is being restricted with an exception for our more vulnerable customers," a spokesperson said.

At the Waterford test centre, in situations where the safe spot seat in the waiting area is taken, another seat can also be provided outside if the test centre is informed that this is needed.

Mr McGrath said that, in his view, it was "a potentially dangerous situation" for older people with underlying health conditions and he believed an open-sided pop-up canopy or shelter should be provided at test centres for people waiting for their cars to be NCT tested.

The pensioner even contacted Waterford TD and Older People Minister Mary Butler about his concerns over the elderly being required to wait outside in inclement weather.

The minister acknowledged that Mr McGrath's concerns were valid and she confirmed the issue was being forwarded to Road Transport Minister Hildegard Naughton for consideration in advance of future engagement with the NCT regarding the provision of services to older people in the context of the pandemic.


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