Tuesday, 27 January 2004

Questions (683, 684, 685)

Seán Crowe

Question:

804 Mr. Crowe asked the Minister for Transport his views on the merits of creating an all-Ireland penalty points system; the talks he has had with his Northern counterpart on the matter; when he may be able to bring concrete proposals forward; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1085/04]

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Seán Crowe

Question:

805 Mr. Crowe asked the Minister for Transport if the issue of mutual recognition of the penalty points systems operating in the Twenty-six Counties and the Six Counties was discussed at the British-Irish Council meeting held in Wales on the 28 November 2003. [1086/04]

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Seán Crowe

Question:

806 Mr. Crowe asked the Minister for Transport the progress made by the British-Irish Council on the issue of mutual recognition of the penalty points system operating in the Twenty-six Counties and the Six Counties. [1087/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 804 to 806, inclusive, together.

Penalty point systems are now operating in this country, Northern Ireland and Great Britain. The authorities in all three jurisdictions are actively considering the issue of the introduction of a scheme to provide for the mutual recognition of penalty points between the United Kingdom and Ireland. This consideration is being pursued under the auspices of the British-Irish Council. One of the first matters that will need to be addressed before full mutual recognition can be realised will be the introduction of bilateral recognition of the separate penalty points systems operating in Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

The summit meeting of the British-Irish Council which took place in Cardiff on 28 November 2003 focused on the subject of indigenous, minority and lesser used languages. In addition, the council was updated on work being undertaken in other areas of the British-Irish Council work programme, including transport. The transport work programme, on which the Northern Ireland administration takes the lead, includes a proposal for developing mutual recognition of driving offences between British-Irish Council member administrations.