Tánaiste confirms motorists will need green cards to drive in UK in event of no-deal Brexit

By Fiachra Ó Cionnaith
Irish Examiner Political Correspondent

Tánaiste Simon Coveney has confirmed Irish drivers will have to be given "green cards" if they are travelling over the border in a worst-case scenario, no-deal Brexit.

Mr Coveney admitted the new rule may be needed to ensure drivers are insured on both sides of the border in just a matter of weeks, after saying the cards "will be available" to drivers when Britain leaves the EU.

Speaking during the latest Dáil leader's questions just 24 hours after a motor industry group said the plan is needed, Mr Coveney told Fianna Fáil deputy leader Dara Calleary the Government is considering the green card move.

While acknowledging the likely negative public reaction to the decision, the Tánaiste said the new rule will be needed to ensure drivers remain insured in the Republic and Northern Ireland.

Mr Coveney told the Dáil: "Just to give some guidance here, we're all working to ensure it will not happen and in my view it won't happen, but should there be a hard Brexit the UK including Northern Ireland will no longer be part of the motor insurance directive, which is an EU directive.

"This will mean a green card will be required to demonstrate to the authorities in Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK, if you're driving there, that valid motor insurance is in place for those vehicles.

"So what the industry is saying and what we're saying is this is an example of contingency planning in the industry. They will need to be able to show that if they're stopped in the other jurisdiction, they will need to be able to show they have valid insurance.

"So if they carry the green card, which will be available to them, they will be covered in that regard," Mr Coveney said.

The Tánaiste confirmed the plan after the Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland said on Wednesday evening green cards will be needed if there is a no deal Brexit - a situation Fianna Fáil transport spokesperson Robert Troy said is "not a logical long-term solution".

Meanwhile, during the same Dáil debate Mr Calleary also lashed the Government for failing to keep its State projects within budget.

Noting the Irish Examiner's report yesterday that Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe has warned the cost of a no-deal Brexit could force some projects to be delayed, Mr Calleary said there are serious concerns over a number of high-profile plans.

Mr Calleary said Project Ireland 2040 was launched with "fanfare" last year but is now seen to have been "spin, spin, spin", and said if the Brexit concerns are added to by the fact the national children's hospital is already €1-1.5bn over budget.

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