THE FUTURE of the local vehicle licensing office in Enniskillen, and those employed there, is still far from assured this week.
Last week, Environment Minister Alex Attwood met with his counterpart in Great Britain, Stephen Hammond, Minister in the Department of Transport, to discuss the future of the DVA office in Coleraine.
Minister Attwood reported that, ‘no decision’ had been made on the future of the DVA in Coleraine. The talks were called following much speculation that DVA functions in Coleraine are to be centralised to Swansea.
It is widely believed if the office in Coleraine were to close, this would also affect all the local offices across Northern Ireland, including Enniskillen and Omagh with, in all likelihood, these offices also facing closure.
Meanwhile, staff at Enniskillen and Omagh are concerned about the future of their jobs, and they are also concerned about the inconvenience the potential loss of the services the local DVA offer would cause the motoring public.
As well as being able to tax your vehicle, local DVA offices offer a range of other services, including cherished number transfers and declaring your vehicle off the road (SORN).
Closure of Coleraine – and the potential closure of local offices, such as Enniskillen – would mean the only place to tax your car in Fermanagh would be at the Post Office or online while all other functions – such as transferring numbers – would have to be posted to Swansea.
While there is a campaign to save the Coleraine jobs, local staff feel the public may not realise all DVA jobs in the North could also be at risk.
Speaking after the meeting, Minister Attwood stated: “Minister Hammond confirmed to me that ‘no decision’ has been taken about the future of the DVA in Coleraine.
“Given the fully justified concern of recent days around the DVA jobs, it was very important that the London government clear the air.”
He added: “That said, the campaign to save Coleraine jobs continues. I firmly outlined to Minister Hammond that, for a range of very strong reasons, the jobs in Coleraine needed protection.
“I firmly made it clear that no decisions could be taken without a full assessment of the impact of any decision on vehicle licensing staff, customers, the local economy and Northern Ireland generally.”
Minister Attwood said he also insisted there had to be a proper consultation with stakeholders in relation to the future of DVA.
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