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Irish Left Review >>
NCT is a farce
Monday August 04, 2014 13:39 by fred
the NCT was brought in to inject life into the flagging motor sales industry in celtic tiger days, and to create lucrative business opportunites for some lucky people who happened to well connected and in the loop. It's all a bit of a money making scam, which targets the poor disproportionally, gives gardai draconian powers of seizure. Chronic delays in the test system, not to mention reports of corrupt practices make the thing a nightmare for the less well off trying to keep a vehicle on the road in order to increase their chances of finding work. Just another obstacle put in the way of the poorer classes which serves to limit their possibilities and their movements.
As a person on limited means, trying to keep a car in Ireland is a nightmare. First you have the riduculous driving test in which for half an hour you are expected to drive in a way that you probably will never do again. Hence the crazy fail and retest rate. Expensive money racket. 1
Then if you negotiate that(or not), you have to get your licence. Another semi privatised money racket.
Then there's the vehicle tax. Highest in Europe for the worst roads. All that is essential if you don't want to get in trouble with the law. No surprise then that you have very little left to spend on the car itself. This is where the next protection racket you need to negotiate comes in. The NCT. IMHO the NCT was brought in to inject life into the flagging motor sales industry in celtic tiger days, and to create lucrative business opportunites for some lucky people in the private sector who happened to well connected and in the loop. It's all a bit of a money making scam.
Gardai have draconian powers of seizure to enforce NCT legislation.
But yet < 1% of accidents are contributed to (NOT caused) by mechanical failure.
The bulk of accidents are related to bad roads, excessive speed and drink.
The NCT test is difficult to organise as the centres are booked out all the time.
Currently in Galway there are no slots until well into October. It is now the beginning of August.
So if your NCT runs out, how can you organise another in the 10 days a garda will give you at a checkpoint to produce an NCT. That is assuming he doesn't just seize your vehicle.
And if he seizes your vehicle, how can you get it back? (how can you possibly get that NCT without actually having your vehicle?)
The answer is of course YOU pay a large fee to a private business for having it towed and YOU pay a large daily storage fee to a private business to get it back. Then you go through the whole cycle again. Except in very exceptional cases this is all very stupid unless you happen to be the licensed private operators who profit from all this.
What happens if you cannot afford the huge fee? Do you just lose your car? Or does it mount up until it's more than the actual value of your car?
Presumably you are already likely to be poor if you are driving an older car in need of work. So piling on another huge and needless expense like this is not a good way to encourage you to pay for repairs on your car because it is substantially reducing your available means to pay for necessary repairs in a spiteful useless manner.
Surely a better way would be a "compulsory repair order" of some kind, whereby you have 10 days to produce proof of getting the specified repair done.
So clearly all this is less about having repairs done quickly and more about punishing poor people and putting them off the road altogether.
And if you are unemployed, without a vehicle to get around, you have much less chance of finding work.
Clearly the NCT is not fit for purpose. The fines and punishments and garda powers in the area are draconian and disproportionate, as they tend to be in government driven protection rackets like this. Leaving this aside,actually arranging a test is unwieldy as the number of test centres is clearly inadequate to maximise profit / investment ratio and there are long delays.
Recently there were several scandals reported whereby employees were taking money in return for an NCT pass thereby nullifying the whole purpose of the test.
some more information and discussion of this topic here from a taxi man's perspective:
Of course, in a way I can understand why this was happening as doing things the right way was slow, frustrating and indeterminate, and ultimately has little noticeable effect on current levels of road accidents
Surely a simple on the spot small fine system and submission of "proof of repair" in serious cases would have been so much simpler and fairer than the whole seizure thing, which WILL be applied if it's there, and not just in those very exceptional cases where a vehicle is clearly dangerous (and as gardai are not qualified mechanics so in most cases one must ask how can they even judge??)
Of course, like so many things in Irish society, if you have money it's ok but the poor are disproportionally targetted (since they rely on older second hand vehicles and can't afford nice new cars) and if the objective was to limit the ability of the poor to get around then the NCT coupled with draconian garda powers of seizure has worked out very well as yet another (lucrative) rivet in the system of control over the lower classes daring to aspire towards independent transport.