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Driver Licences

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 11 May 2021

Tuesday, 11 May 2021

Questions (175)

Patrick Costello


175. Deputy Patrick Costello asked the Minister for Transport if he will temporarily suspend the rule whereby non-EU driver licence holders must obtain an Irish licence after 12 months of residency here given the fact that with the ongoing restrictions it is in fact not possible for such person's to book driver tests; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23740/21]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

There is a distinction between motorists with a non-EU driving licence visiting Ireland and those living in Ireland. For non-residents, under the Convention on Road Traffic 1949 (Geneva Convention) drivers from Contracting States carrying a valid driver’s licence can drive on each other’s roads for up to a year when visiting. If a person is resident in Ireland, they must have an Irish/EU driving licence to drive here under European as well as Irish law. There is no 12 month grace period.

Ireland has entered into driving licence exchange agreements with some countries. In such cases, an non-EU driving licence that has expired by no more than 12 months will be accepted for exchange. The licence is only recognised for exchange purposes and is not valid for driving in Ireland.

I have recently confirmed the gradual reopening of some road safety services provided by the Road Safety Authority (RSA) and the driving instruction industry from the 10 May 2021, as agreed by government. Driving tests for essential workers will continue to be the priority for the driver testing service. In line with the gradual reopening of services, driving tests for all those who are eligible to take the test and have been waiting longest will recommence in a limited fashion.

It is expected that invitations will start to be issued to these customers later this month.