Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Ceisteanna (509)

Marc MacSharry

Ceist:

509. Deputy Marc MacSharry asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the number and dates that he has met the Taoiseach to discuss the recognition of UK driver licences in the event of a no-deal Brexit. [39496/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

I have not held bilateral meetings with the Taoiseach to date specifically on this subject. However, contingency planning for a no-deal Brexit has been considered by Cabinet on many occasions since 2016, and is now discussed on a weekly basis and the matter of UK driver licenses has been included in the issues under consideration.

Additionally, my officials were in contact with officials from the Department of the Taoiseach in relation to UK driver licences during this year. My officials have also worked closely with the Road Safety Authority (RSA) in seeking to encourage holders of UK driver licences  who are resident in Ireland to exchange their UK licence for an Irish licence in advance of 31 October 2019.   Following a no deal Brexit, a UK driving licence will no longer be valid for persons living in Ireland. The RSA has run a number of media campaigns including a further radio campaign which commenced on 23 September 2019 to encourage those living in Ireland and holding UK (including NI) driving licences to exchange these in good time before 31 October.

At the start of this process, it was estimated that some 70,000 UK licences were held by people resident in Ireland. Some 32,000 of these have been exchanged to date.  The RSA is adding extra hours to its opening hours in the NDLS Centres commencing on 7 October. The extra hours will be advertised on www.ndls.ie. Extra resources are also in place in the application processing centre to cater for the extra expected demand. At present, the average waiting time for the exchange of a UK driving licence for an Irish driving licence is 4 days.