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Debunked: No, Ukrainian drivers aren't exempt from Irish laws or the need to be insured here shared the claim earlier this month.

CLAIMS HAVE CIRCULATED which suggest that Ukrainian motorists who live in Ireland are exempt from rules that Irish drivers must adhere to, including the need to have insurance.

The claims have been shared online recently, but insurance and driving bodies, as well as authorities on driving in Ireland, have confirmed they are not true.

“More and more people are complaining Ukrainians are driving their cars on Irish roads without having to pay Irish road tax or car insurance here – including parking in disabled bays”, a headline in read is a website that has been factchecked numerous times by The Journal, often for false claims about migrants.

“It’s becoming a joke at this stage,” the article begins. “Ukrainians are driving predominantly high-end cars up and down Irish motorways and roads without having to pay car tax for this jurisdiction or car insurance here.”

However, this is false. Ukrainians need insurance to legally drive in Ireland.

While Ukrainians resident in Ireland do still need to pay tax, in some circumstances they can pay this in Ukraine rather than Ireland.

There are also no rules allowing Ukrainians to park in disabled bays as the headline claims.

Motor Tax

Vehicles in Ireland that are used in a public place or on a public road are liable for motor tax.

Different vehicles are charged at different rates and some cars, such as those used by certain disabled people, can be exempt from paying these taxes.

The Road Safety Authority (RSA), a body responsible for road safety, including regulation and driver testing, published a guide for Ukrainians called: What You Need to Know About Driving in Ireland.

It notes that “Ukrainians can apply for an exemption from [motor tax] where a vehicle is temporarily brought into Ireland, known as a ‘vehicle temporary exemption’.”

However, this exemption is not unique to Ukrainians and was introduced before the war in Ukraine. It is also subject to numerous conditions, including that the vehicle is taxed and registered abroad, and that it can’t be used for business purposes.


The rules on Ukrainians needing insurance to drive in Ireland are far simpler: they need insurance to drive, the same as other drivers.  

“Do I need insurance to drive in Ireland?” a Frequently Asked Questions document distributed by the RSA for Ukrainian drivers asks.

“Yes, by law you must be insured to drive your vehicle when using it on Irish roads,” it answers.

All drivers are required by law to have at least third party insurance, which covers the cost of other people’s damages if a motorist is at fault for an accident.

“It is a legal requirement that all vehicles on Irish roads be insured. It is an offence for someone to drive without motor insurance,” Insurance Ireland, the group representing the insurance industry said in response to inquiries by The Journal.

“To that end, insurers will provide cover for Ukrainian residents holding valid and current driving licences as temporary or permanent additions to existing private motor insurance policies, subject to the licencing rules.

“It is also possible to insure a Ukrainian registered car. The approaches to this differ between insurers across the open market and Insurance Ireland advises impacted people to contact insurers directly to discuss. There are certain vehicle importation rules that must be followed, depending on how long they stay in Ireland.”

Stories about preferential treatment of migrants are common, including past claims that they can avail of special business grants, modular homes, and higher rates of Jobseeker’s Allowance than Irish people. These have been debunked by The Journal.

There are also frequent claims, presented without evidence, that crimes by migrants are being covered up by the gardaí.

The Journal has seen videos which claim to show Gardaí allowing foreign people drive vehicles away despite not having insurance discs. One popular video on YouTube has more than 43,000 views. It is titled: “no tax no insurance on the car and Garda let the car drive away” and features an anti-immigrant slogan onscreen.

However, there are a few things to note about this video:

  • A still-in-date tax disc is clearly visible in the screen of the car that appears to be the subject of the video’s title.
  • The police question the driver of the car that does not have an insurance disc before letting them drive away. This does not necessarily show a lapse in enforcing the law: official government regulations state that a person has ten days from their insurance being certified to display their insurance disc, presumably to allow time for certs to be delivered or picked up.
  • This particular video was filmed outside a centre for International Protection Applicants, not Ukrainians, who are considered under a separate category called Beneficiaries of Temporary Protection.


False. Ukrainians are required to have insurance to drive on Irish public roads, just like all other drivers. 

The Journal FactCheck is a signatory to the International Fact-Checking Network’s Code of Principles. You can read it here. For information on how FactCheck works, what the verdicts mean, and how you can take part, check out our Reader’s Guide here. You can read about the team of editors and reporters who work on the factchecks here.