MOTORISTS will have to pay more for their National Car Test (NCT) from next month after Transport Minister Leo Varadkar approved a 10pc increase in the fee.
The cost of the NCT is set to rise by 10pc from €50 to €55 from February 1.
However, the cost of re-tests remains unchanged at €28.
The €5 increase is part of a strategy by Mr Varadkar to make the Road Safety Authority (RSA) -- which runs the NCT system -- self-financing.
However, the move was slammed last night by Dermot Jewell of the Consumers' Association of Ireland, who said it would cause "significant difficulty" for drivers who have to get their cars tested.
"I think it's going to hurt a lot of people, together with all the other increases they have taken on board," he said.
"There has already been an increase in VAT and the (health) insurance levy will be passed onto consumers. These increases make it very difficult for people to balance budgets."
The RSA is to hold an information campaign in the coming weeks to let motorists know about the increased test fee.
The NCT system has been in place since 2000 and and its primary aim is to improve road safety and enhance environmental protection by reducing harmful vehicles emissions.
The test is mandatory for cars more than three years old.
Cars aged between four and 10 years must undergo the test every two years, while cars older than that must be tested every year.
The test is carried out by Spanish company Applus at 46 test centres nationwide. Its work is monitored by the RSA.
Last year 1.4 million cars were tested under the scheme of which 464,331 were re-tests.
Just over half -- 50.5pc -- of cars passed the test first time in 2011, while just over 90pc of cars passed the re-test.
Meanwhile, in 2010, 1.3 million cars were tested under the scheme, of which 419,077 were re-tests. Just over half -- 51.7pc -- of cars passed the test the first time, while over 90pc of cars passed the re-test.
Poor tyre conditions and problems with brakes, headlamps and indicators were among the most common reasons for cars failing the test in 2010.