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Over 5,000 people have asked the Road Safety Authority about post-Brexit driving licences since March 2019

Thousands of people have contacted the RSA about Brexit and driving licences since the end of February.
Jul 29th 2019, 10:25 PM 14,817 27

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. 

Figures obtained by TheJournal.ie following a freedom of information request show that 5,470 people contacted the National Driver Licence Service (NDLS), which is administered as part of the Road Safety Authority (RSA), in relation to Brexit since 25 February 2019.

Earlier this year, the government began issuing warnings to people in possession of UK driving licences who want to drive in Ireland following a no-deal Brexit. 

Anyone living in Ireland who holds a UK or Northern Irish driving licence is being told that they must exchange it for an Irish driving licence before 31 October 2019 – the date the UK is scheduled to leave the EU. 

Since taking officer, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has stepped up no-deal preparations, raising fears that a no-deal Brexit – once treated as a remote possibility – is now increasingly likely. 

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 RSA did not comment in time for publication when contacted by TheJournal.ie. 

However, earlier this month it urged holders of a UK licence to exchange it for an Irish driving licence before a no-deal Brexit. 

So far in 2019, nearly 30,000 UK licences have been exchanged for an Irish driving licence – this is an increase from 6,000 in 2018. 

“The fact is a UK licence holder resident here must exchange their UK licence for an Irish one. It is vital that this is done before the UK leaves the EU because under current EU arrangements a UK licence holder resident here in Ireland has an entitlement to exchange the licence for an Irish driving licence,” CEO of the RSA Moyagh Murdock said earlier this month. 

According to the latest government information, 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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Dominic McGrath

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