DVA jobs going to Wales is ‘not a done deal’

Mark H Durkan
Mark H Durkan

The Environment Minister Mark H Durkan has said that he is determined to keep almost 300 Driver and Vehicle Licensing posts in Northern Ireland.

And following a visit to County Hall on Wednesday, the Minister tweeted: “Overwhelmed by reception in Coleraine. People are worried but they are also determined.”

Westminster put the future of the jobs out to consultation after the centralising of the posts to Swansea was announced.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency revealed in December 2011 that it was considering shutting down its 39 centres and basing its services in the Welsh city.

Plans by the Department of Transport to modernise vehicle registration and licensing means a number of similar offices in the UK will close by the end of the year.

The consultation process ended last Wednesday, and DVA staff told UTV that they expect to hear an outcome within 90 days.

On the same day DVA staff , gathered on the steps of County Hall, broked into a round of applause as the Minister arrived to discuss retaining the jobs.

Mr Durkan said that he has demanded a meeting with Transport Secretary Stephen Hammond before a decision is made.

“I dispute that it is a done deal,” he said.

“ I have already written to MPs, I’ve written to every MLA, I’ve been assured of cross party support and I believe that we have to take this battle - the Assembly has to take this battle to the highest level and if that means OFMDFM going to the prime minister - that is what needs to be done.”

“It’s important that we don’t lose this fight - it’s a fight that we are united on and that’s the only way we can win it.”

The Minister stressed that he has “the unanimous backing from MLAs right across the political spectrum.”

A recent public meeting in Coleraine heard politicians vowing to take the issue to parliament itself.