Here’s where your car is most likely to pass the NCT!

Written 3 years ago by Will Faulkner

To pass your NCT first time, go to…

Portlaoise in County Laois. It has the highest NCT pass rate in the midlands – and is among the best in the country.

You’re least likely to pass in Longford.

Among the acres of statistics released by the Central Statistics Office is a mammoth 150% increase in the number of drivers picking up penalty points for failing to display a valid NCT cert.

Great. So will I be waiting long if I apply for my test today?

Generally no more than a couple of weeks. NCTS have extended opening hours in times of peak demand so they burn through any backlog quite quickly. The centres are getting busier though:

Centres        No. cars tested           Pass %*

Athlone                18,165                      49%

Longford             15,097                      42%

Mullingar            20,922                      45%

Portlaoise            26,074                      55%

Tullamore           22,729                       52%

* Initial pass rate, prior to any retests.

That figure for Portlaoise is 5,000 higher than last year. All centres except Longford are up in the last 12 months.

Do these numbers shift much over time?

A bit. For better and worse. The initial pass rate is up 3% year-on-year in Portlaoise but is down by that amount in Longford.

So I’m doomed if I bring the car to Longford?

Not really. On a positive note, more than nine out of ten cars eventually pass at all centres once repairs and retests are complete.

Why do the numbers vary so much from one centre to another?

Hard to say. Will Faulkner asked motoring expert Owen Reddy from and his experience is that standards are applied rigidly at every centre. However, in sympathy to the poor motorists of Longford, he believes the many motorway miles racked up by Laois commuters inflicts far less damage on cars than plodding the bumpy by-ways elsewhere in the midlands.