01 Dec 2021

'You save a nest egg for a rainy day, well this is a rainy month' - Dundalk business owner


'You save a nest egg for a rainy day, well this is a rainy month' - Dundalk business owner

Barry McDermott (right) is the owner of local driving lessons company Elpasso.

Barry McDermott says the present Covid-19 situation will have a “massive” impact on the driving test industry when life gets back to normal.

The Elpasso School of Motoring owner was the first local lessons firm to call a halt to their schedule, on March 14, and all others have now followed in line with government policy.

McDermott said the decision was taken on safety grounds, given the proximity of learners and instructors in the cars, along with the high turnover of persons in the vehicles.

However, financially, it was a huge call to make and leaves the future as part of a guessing game.

“I took the boys straight off the road as soon as it wasn’t safe,” McDermott told The Democrat.

“I’ve four boys working, plus myself, and there’s mortgages and the whole lot to be looked after.

“This week, from Monday to Friday, without taking bookings from March 14, I’d eight for tests.

“I probably would have had up to 20 tests had I continued beyond that date.

“The waiting list was grand, they were on top of it, but the whole thing is going to kill us now. Everyone is going to come back at the one time looking to get their tests done.

“Say we’re allowed to go back on May 5, it comes and we could have 20 tests on the one day with no preparation because the ban wasn’t lifted until that point. It puts us in a precarious position.

“I know, touch wood, that I’ve a good foundation there and the first week I come back I’ll put an ad on Facebook and I’ll be back up and running, but you save a nest egg for a rainy day, well this is a rainy month!”

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