Minister Ross Announces New Measures to Reduce Burden on Returning Emigrants

Wednesday 21 February 2018

The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Mr Shane Ross TD, has today announced that he will be introducing new measures to reduce the burden of obtaining an Irish driving licence for returning emigrants, as well as others taking up residence in the country.

Currently, people who take up residence in Ireland and are holders of a full driving licence which is not exchangeable for an Irish one must go through the full driver learning process, including a mandatory 12 Essential Driver Training (EDT) lessons.  This has created difficulties for returning emigrants in terms of both time and cost.

Speaking to today, Minister Ross said ‘As Minister, I have a responsibility for public safety, and it is right that we should have tests to make sure that the people we licence to drive on our roads are qualified to do so. At the same time, many experienced drivers are currently made to go through a whole range of mandatory lessons before taking the Irish driving test when it is clear that this is not necessary.  I do believe that a number of lessons will help people adjust to specifically Irish rules and make it easier for them to pass the test, but making them go through a complete 12-lesson programme designed for beginners does not make sense.’

Under the new measures, people who take up residence in Ireland and hold a full driving licence which is not exchangeable for an Irish licence will now be required to take 6 rather than 12 lessons before taking the test. This will significantly reduce the time and cost to the individuals.

At the same time it will maintain standards of public safety. Drivers in this situation will still have to prove their qualifications by passing an Irish driving test. 

The Minister added: ‘I am sure some will ask why I did not remove the requirement to take any lessons in these cases.  This was an option I considered, but the evidence shows that taking some lessons will be very useful preparation and improve people’s chances of passing the tests first time. We also have to remember that people who have very safe driving records overseas may not be familiar with Irish rules, and taking some lessons will help them to adjust.’

Press Office, Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, 01 604 1090 / 01 604 1093

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