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Driving licence applications nearly treble in a month as Road Safety Authority steps up Brexit warnings

The RSA has been warning UK driving licence-holders to exchange them for Irish licences before Brexit.

UK driving licence-holders living in Ireland are being told to swap to an Irish licence.
UK driving licence-holders living in Ireland are being told to swap to an Irish licence.
Image: Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews.ie

THE NUMBER OF applications for Irish driving licences jumped from 651 to 1,805 between June and July as fears of a no-deal Brexit increase. 

The Road Safety Authority this year spent nearly €72,000 advertising the need for UK driving licence holders living in Ireland to apply for an Irish licence before a no-deal Brexit. 

In the last month, applications have nearly tripled as preparations in Ireland continue as the UK prepares to leave the EU. 

According to figures obtained by TheJournal.ie following a freedom of information request, Road Safety Authority (RSA), which administers the National Driver Licence Service, spent €71,702 on advertising the need for people to exchange their UK licences for an Irish licence before 31 October 2019 – the date the UK is scheduled to leave the EU. 

The money was spent on a range of adverts, including on local and national radio, as well as in newspapers and on social media.  

While preparations between the Road Safety Authority and the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport on driving licences began earlier this year, since taking office UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has increased fears that the country is heading towards a no-deal exit.

In recent months, the government has been promoting the need for Irish businesses and industries to prepare for a no-deal Brexit. 

On its website, the NDLS warns: 

If you wait till close to the UK exit date of 31 October, you may face lengthy delays in exchanging a UK licence, and the National Driver Licensing Service (NDLS) cannot guarantee when you will have a valid licence to drive here in Ireland.

“The campaign has been highly successful in raising awareness of the need to exchange a licence in driving exchange applications themselves,” a spokesperson for the RSA said in a statement. 

Last month, TheJournal.ie revealed that over 5,000 questions about the status of UK driving licences in Ireland after Brexit have been sent to the National Driver Licence Service since the end of February. 

Nearly 27,000 UK licences have been exchanged for an Irish driving licence in 2019 – this is an increase from 6,000 in 2018. 

The latest government information states that visitors from the UK or Northern Ireland will still be able to drive in Ireland following Brexit without an international driving permit. 

The NDLS has also advised that anyone who lives in Northern Ireland but works across the border will still be able to drive using a UK driving licence.   

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