Border-crossing motorists will need to apply for Green Cards from this week

Drivers crossing into Northern Ireland without correct documentation will risk fines

Motorists from the Republic who plan to drive across the Border from the end of next month will have to start applying for a so-called Green Card this week or risk penalties for driving without insurance.

The Motor Insurers' Bureau of Ireland (MIBI) has issued about one million Green Card forms, as well as electronic application templates, to insurance companies and insurance brokers in case there is a no-deal Brexit.

The figure was revealed at a special briefing organised for members of the Oireachtas on the issue.

The MIBI also advised that motorists who plan on driving in Northern Ireland or elsewhere in the UK immediately after no-deal Brexit should begin applying for their Green Cards from later this week.

Those who plan on travelling after that period should contact their insurance companies and insurance brokers one month in advance of their expected travel date.

Green Cards are internationally recognised insurance documents which provide proof of insurance cover to law enforcement agencies in the relevant country.

It is a hard copy document which is printed on green paper or with a green background. If there is a no-deal Brexit on March 29th, then any motorist who plans on driving their Irish-registered vehicle in Northern Ireland or the UK is advised to ensure they have a Green Card or they could be subjected to the penalties for driving uninsured after that date.

The Oireachtas members were also informed that the Green Cards will not be necessary if a deal is agreed between the UK and the EU on Brexit. If the UK were to delay their plans for Brexit then the need for Green Cards would also be delayed.

The MIBI acts as Green Card Bureau in the Republic of Ireland. The MIBI is a not for profit organisation that was established to compensate victims of road traffic accidents caused by uninsured and unidentified vehicles.

Speaking after the briefing organised for members of the Oireachtas, David Fitzgerald, MIBI chief executive, said it was "working with the insurance companies and insurance brokers in this country to ensure that anyone who requires a Green Card can get one".

He expressed the hope that Green Cards “will not be required and that the UK will reach an agreement with the EU on an orderly Brexit. If a transitional Brexit arrangement is put in place between the EU and the UK then Green Cards will not be required. While a delayed Brexit means the need for Green Cards will also be pushed back.”

However, he said that as things stand a no-deal Brexit could occur on the 29th March “and it is important that the motoring public is aware of the implications. Under a ‘no deal’ Brexit then Irish insurance documentation may no longer be recognised by the law enforcement authorities in Northern Ireland or the rest of the UK. “