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Brexit and Ireland
The decision of the United Kingdom to leave the European Union presents unprecedented challenges for Ireland, including in the fields of Transport, Tourism and Sport.
The Government is taking measures to mitigate the negative effects of a “no-deal” Brexit, including passing the Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union (Consequential Provisions) Act 2019. The Government has also published a Contingency Action Plan.
You can learn more about the steps being taken to get Ireland Brexit Ready on gov.ie/brexit.
You can also sign up to the Brexit Newsletter for Government updates at https://www.dfa.ie/brexit/government-brexit-update/
Brexit and the EU
In July 2018 the European Commission published a Communication on preparing for the UK's withdrawal from the EU. This Communication called on Member States, private actors, business operators, professionals and citizens to prepare and take necessary action. In December 2018, the European Commission began implementing its “no-deal” action plan in which it announced a number of legislative proposals aimed at ensuring basic road, air and cross-border rail connectivity.
The European Commission has also published over 60 sector-specific Preparedness Notices covering a wide range of areas, including road transport, aviation safety, maritime transport, aviation and maritime security, rail transport, and seafarer qualifications. The Department would urge stakeholders to familiarise themselves with the material contained in these notices.
Brexit and the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
The Brexit Unit within the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport seeks to ensure a coordinated approach to Brexit across all of the Department’s policy areas and is working to ensure that any impacts to our sectors are minimised. The Department is represented on all relevant cross-departmental coordination structures and an internal Departmental Committee on Brexit meets regularly. The Department is also working closely with our agencies and key stakeholders.
Click the links below for more information on:
- Motor Insurance and Green Cards (Proof of Motor Insurance)
- UK (including Northern Ireland) Driving Licences
- Brexit and Impacts of Type Approval on Motor Vehicles
- Haulier and Passenger Operating Licences
- Certificates of Professional Competence
- Driver Attestation
- Road Transport Related Matters
- Cross-Border Rail Services
- Cross-Border Bus Services
- Airline Ownership and Control
- Aviation Safety
- Passenger Security
- Maritime Connectivity
- Pilot Exemption Certificates
- Marine Notices
- Tourism supports
- Supply chain, currency management and working capital
The majority of Irish motor insurance policies already include cover for travel in the UK. In such cases drivers will continue to be insured to drive in the UK even in a no-deal Brexit. If in doubt, policy holders should contact their insurance company to confirm that they have UK cover.
The UK currently comes within the ambit of the EU Motor Insurance Directive which allows all motor vehicles from any EU Member States to travel within the EU without carrying green cards to prove that they have insurance. However, in the event of a no-deal Brexit, the EU Motor Insurance Directive will no longer apply to the UK – this means that Green Cards will be required for EU-registered vehicles entering the UK and for UK-registered vehicles entering the EU. A Green Card is a document which can be presented to law enforcement officers on request, as proof of motor insurance.
A number of insurance companies have started to issue green cards automatically to all their members, while others will do so on request. The Motor Insurers’ Bureau of Ireland (MIBI) is undertaking an information campaign advising motorists to contact their insurance company or insurance broker before travel to Northern Ireland or Great Britain. Anyone who will need to drive in or to Northern Ireland or other parts of the UK after 12 April or in the days immediately after Brexit should contact their insurance companies or insurance brokers. Those who are travelling to Northern Ireland or other parts of the UK after this period should contact their insurance provider one month in advance of their journey if they have not already received a green card. The MIBI has confirmed that anyone who requests a Green Card will be issued one.
The Motor Insurance Bureau of Ireland (MIBI) has also published advice for policy holders.
In the event of a no deal Brexit, a UK driving licence will no longer be valid for persons living in Ireland and such licence holders are being advised to exchange their UK licence for an Irish licence before 12 April 2019. The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport is planning to put in place appropriate arrangements that will allow for the exchange of a UK driving licence for an Irish driving licence following Brexit.
Holders of UK driving licences who are visiting Ireland for periods of up to 12 months will still be able to drive here on that licence.
To exchange your licence you must complete a licence application form and present this, the correct fee and your UK licence at an NDLS centre- you will get more information on the process on the National Driver Licence Service Website. You can find the answer to some common questions on the RSA’s website here.
On 29 March 2017, the UK submitted the notification of its intention to withdraw from the EU pursuant to Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union.
This Information Note is provided to industry in particular to provide some clarification in respect of Brexit the United Kingdom’s (UK) future withdrawal from the European Union (EU). It specifically concerns the type approval of Category M (passenger vehicles), N (goods vehicles), O (their trailers) and L (two and three-wheeled motor vehicles, e.g. motorcycles and mopeds).
In the Event a Deal is reached between the UK and EU
Since 29 March 2017, negotiations have been underway between the EU and UK with the aim of arriving at a withdrawal agreement. Should a withdrawal agreement be ratified by the EU and UK, it is likely that current rules around type approval will remain in place up to 31 December 2020, i.e. businesses and manufacturers will be able to operate under the same trading rules as they currently do with respect to type approval.
In the event of a 'No-Deal' Brexit
All EU law will cease to apply to the UK from the Brexit date. This includes EU law relating to type approval of motor vehicles.
A no deal Brexit could disrupt Irish hauliers’ and passenger operators’ access to and through the UK. We are working with our EU partners to find solutions for the road transport sector. If the UK leaves the EU on 12 April with no deal, the EU will have in place a temporary measure until the end of 2019 so that EU hauliers and passenger operators can continue to access the UK and vice versa. This is dependent on the UK applying reciprocal measures. This measure is due to be adopted by the EU in advance of Brexit.
There are also potential issues around UK issued Certificates of Professional Competence (CPC) for Drivers and Transport Managers and their continued validity after 12 April and recognition of such in Ireland.
- Driver CPC: A driver with a UK CPC who is resident in Ireland or working for an Irish company should exchange the UK CPC for an Irish CPC in advance of 12 April 2019.
- Transport Manager CPC: In the event of the UK leaving the EU with no agreement, UK issued CPCs will no longer be valid in Ireland or the EU. However, where a licenced operator’s Transport Manager does not meet the requirements, the competent national authority may provide some time (up to six months) for the operator to rectify the situation.
After the withdrawal of the UK from the EU, as the UK will be a third country, any Irish licensed operator who employs a UK driver for the international carriage of goods will require a driver attestation. The Department’s Road Transport Operator Licensing Unit issues Driver Attestations to operators who have third-country drivers. For UK drivers the operator must submit a completed application form, a copy of the driver’s passport, valid driving licence and appropriate fee. Applications are available on www.rtol.ie.
The www.gov.ie website contains a range of information on other relevant matters. The below is just a small sample of issues that may be particularly relevant to licenced hauliers.
There a number of issues in relation to the transit of goods through the UK after Brexit (the landbridge route).
Current information is summarised in this recent Press Release from the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation.
In particular attention is drawn to the information from the Revenue Commissioners regarding the need for comprehensive guarantee and guarantee waivers for transit through the UK after Brexit.
The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation also announced recently an increase in rescue and restructuring aid for the SME sector. This applies to SMEs in all sectors of the economy, with the exception of the steel, coal and financial sectors.
The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport’s priority is to ensure continuity of the Dublin-Belfast Enterprise rail services. A number of contingency options are under consideration. A draft EU Regulation which will ensure continuity for cross-border rail services in the event of a no deal Brexit is progressing at EU level.
Preparations are also on-going in Ireland and Northern Ireland, and Iarnród Éireann and Northern Irish Railways are working together intensively such that the Minister is confident that the Enterprise will continue to run post Brexit. The Commission for Railway Regulation, the statutorily independent regulatory agency charged with oversight of the safety of all railway activities in Ireland, is engaged and will ensure continued compliance with EU rail safety laws. The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport has held a number of meetings with UK officials as part of this process and all parties continue to prepare for a bilateral agreement on rail in compliance with existing EU rail legislation, and to put in place the necessary secondary legislation.
In relation to bus services, a number of contingency measures are in play. An EU Regulation which will ensure continuity for scheduled bus services to and from the UK in the event of a no deal Brexit has been adopted by the European Council and will start to apply the day after the UK’s withdrawal. This EU Regulation allows current holders of authorisations to continue to provide their services, to ensure continuity of regular bus services between the EU and the UK. Occasional services are proposed to be permitted by the accelerated entry of the UK into the Interbus Agreement. All this would be dependent on the UK applying reciprocal measures. This means that scheduled cross-border bus services between Ireland and Northern Ireland can continue to operate.
As a further contingency measure, Part 10 of the European Union (Consequential Provisions) Act 2019 also gives new powers to the National Transport Authority in relation to regulating bus services to and from a third country. Also, under EU law, once the UK leaves the EU, Ireland will be permitted to enter into a bilateral arrangement with the UK for bus services, and this is expected to be agreed quickly so as to facilitate continuity for occasional bus services after UK withdrawal and until the UK is expected to accede to the EU Interbus Agreement in April 2019.
Ireland is heavily dependent on aviation links with the UK for trade and tourism. Some 44% of all flights to or from Ireland, approximately 113,000 flights per annum, are to or from the UK. The sector contributes more than €4 billion directly to Ireland’s GDP. The tourism sector is critically reliant on aviation connectivity and spending by overseas visitors is approximately €5 billion, of which just over €1 billion is from GB visitors.
The European Commission has drafted a regulation to ensure basic air connectivity with the UK in the event of a no-deal Brexit scenario. The regulation provides for temporary measures for 12 months to ensure that, in a no deal scenario, air carriers from the UK can land in the EU and fly back to the UK (i.e. operate point to point flights) as well as measures to UK air carriers to fly over the territory of the EU, make stops in the EU for non-traffic purposes (e.g. refuelling without embarkation/ disembarkation of passengers), and perform scheduled and non-scheduled international passenger and cargo air transport services.
Traffic rights for UK carriers providing all-cargo services on routes from airports within the EU27 to third countries will only be available for a limited period of five months, however any such flight must have its origin or destination in the UK. UK air carriers will be able to provide scheduled air services on routes subject to public service obligations in the EU for a maximum of seven months.
These measures are subject to the UK conferring equivalent rights to air carriers from the Union, as well as to the UK ensuring conditions of fair competition. On 7 March 2019, the UK Government issued a statement to confirm that the UK will grant airlines licensed in EU countries a level of access to the UK that is at least equivalent to the rights granted to UK airlines under the EU’s draft regulation on basic air connectivity, for the period during which that draft regulation applies.
Here in Ireland, the National Civil Aviation Development Forum was established in 2016 to facilitate engagement between Government and the air transport sector in Ireland - from airports, to aircraft leasing, to airlines. It has held regular discussions on Brexit, which have informed both the Government’s approach to the negotiations and our priorities in them, and our detailed discussions at EU level on Brexit preparedness.
A fundamental legal principle of European Aviation is that air carriers wishing to operate in the single aviation market must be majority owned and effectively controlled by EU nationals. The European Commission has been very clear that it is essential for companies that wish to be recognised as EU air carriers to take all necessary measures to re-structure and to ensure that they meet this requirement in time for 12 April. The European Commission has now proposed to allow EU airlines partly owned by UK nationals a further six months beyond 12 April to undertake the necessary actions to achieve EU majority ownership and control.
Regarding aviation safety, for certain aeronautical products and companies, the European Aviation Safety Authority (EASA) will only be able to issue certificates once the UK has become a third country.
The European Commission proposes to extend temporarily the validity of certain aviation safety licences/certificates for nine months. The Commission has proposed measures ensuring that parts and appliances placed on the Union market before the withdrawal date, based on a certificate issued by a legal and natural person certified by the UK Civil Aviation Authority, may still be used under certain circumstances. The proposal will allow UK manufacturers to continue producing such products and EU-27 operators to continue utilising such products, in compliance with applicable Union legal requirements.
The Commission is taking action to ensure that passengers and their cabin baggage flying from the United Kingdom and transiting via airports in EU Member States continue to be exempted from a second security screening, by applying the One Stop Security system.
The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport updated cabinet on 15 January 2019 on the capacity on direct shipping routes from Ireland to EU continental ports. While the Minister remains of the view that the market is sufficiently responsive to respond to the demands of Brexit and that no intervention by the State at this stage is warranted, the Minister has asked that the Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO) and his Department continue to keep under review the evolving situation regarding maritime connectivity to continental ports.
The EU is amending the Connecting Europe Facility Regulation in order to realign the North Sea – Mediterranean (NSMED) Core Network Corridor. In the event of a no deal Brexit, the proposal will align the core TEN-T ports of Dublin, Cork and Shannon-Foynes to core TEN-T ports in Northern France, Belgium and the Netherlands – as the UK will no longer be part of the NSMED Corridor. The proposed alignment as contained in the Annex to this proposal is as follows:
Shannon Foynes/Dublin/Cork – Le Havre/Calais/Dunkerque/Zeebrugge/Terneuzen/Gent/Antwerpen/Rotterdam/Amsterdam
The proposal acknowledges that for Ireland, maritime links represent a key means of ensuring its direct connectivity with mainland Europe, particularly in view of the uncertain evolution of trade flows passing over the United Kingdom 'land bridge'.
Amended legislation on ship inspection organisations will provide legal certainty for ship operators when the UK leaves the EU.
Under the Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union (Consequential Provisions) Act 2019 the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport has included amendments to the Harbours Act 1996 to address concerns by providing for the period of validity of Pilot Exemption Certificates (PECs) issued by harbour companies from the existing maximum one year period to a maximum of three years and to allow holders of existing PECs to apply for new certificates in the period leading up to when the UK becomes a third country, notwithstanding the fact that their PECs may not have expired.
The Marine Survey Office (MSO) has also published a number of Marine Notices in order to draw attention to the maritime-related Preparedness Notices issued by the European Commission.
The UK is a very significant market for the Irish tourism industry with more than 3 million British tourists contributing almost €1 billion to the economy each year.
Brexit will have an impact on the sector – from the impact of currency fluctuations on individual tourist decisions, to impact on the supply chain for the hospitality sector. Though the final shape of Brexit is not yet clear, there are steps that tourism businesses can take to minimise any disruption.
In particular, Fáilte Ireland has developed a range of advisory and training supports as well as targeted marketing campaigns to help tourism businesses prepare for Brexit. The focus of Brexit Response Programme is to retain and build new business from the UK as well as to diversity into new markets. Please see Fáilte Ireland's www.getbrexitready.com website for further details on the range of tourism supports that are in place.
For information on how Brexit may affect a range of tourism related areas such as transport and mobile roaming costs, please see Travelling and Visiting.
If you source any of your products from the UK, or move them through the UK, you must consider the potential impacts on your supply chain and prepare for any new customs arrangements and the impact they will have on your business.
Sterling and euro volatility is a key concern for all tourism businesses. Brexit may also have an impact on your working capital needs. Guidance on managing currency risk and assessing working capital needs is available on the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation's website. You are also advised to contact your financial advisor, your accountant, or any professional bodies you are a member of, to see if they have additional advice for you.
For more general information on issues, such as banking or staffing, that may affect your business post-Brexit, please see Brexit and Business. For information on the full range of supports to help businesses prepare for Brexit please see Government Programmes, Funds and Supports.