Minister says it is ‘disturbing’ that 36,000 UK driving licences still not exchanged

Ross appeals to motorists to act before October 31st Brexit deadline

Fewer than half of the 70,000 people living in Ireland who hold UK driving licences have exchanged them for an Irish licence ahead of the October 31st Brexit deadline, the Dáil has heard.  Photograph: Getty Images

Fewer than half of the 70,000 people living in Ireland who hold UK driving licences have exchanged them for an Irish licence ahead of the October 31st Brexit deadline, the Dáil has heard. Photograph: Getty Images

 

Fewer than half of the 70,000 people living in Ireland who hold UK driving licences have exchanged them for an Irish licence ahead of the October 31st Brexit deadline, the Dáil has heard.

Minister for Transport Shane Ross said it was “rather disturbing” that so many had yet to transfer their licence but he hoped the situation would be remedied in the next few weeks.

Mr Ross pointed out that if there was a no-deal Brexit the UK driving licence would no longer be accepted in Ireland as the UK would no longer be an EU member state.

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The current waiting time to exchange a licence is just three days, he said but only 34,000 motorists had done so.

Appealing to drivers living in Ireland with UK licences to exchange them now he said the Road Safety Authority would extend opening hours at the National Driver Licence Service from October 7th, with an anticipated rush before the deadline.

Fianna Fáil transport spokesman Marc MacSharry said that if there was no deal there should be transitional arrangements for a certain length of time to facilitate people.

Mr Ross said the exchange of driver licences would become a “national competency” rather than an EU one. His department had examined the technical issues and he wanted to put in alternative arrangements for the exchange of licences, including returning emigrants holding a UK licence.

But he said this could not be completed until after the UK has left the EU, which was why he was urging motorists to exchange their licence without delay.

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