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Irish government says rules allowing UK motorists to travel into Republic would remain unchanged after no-deal Brexit

The Irish government said its rules allowing UK motorists to travel across the border into the Republic would remain unchanged after a no-deal Brexit. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin

THE Irish government last night said its rules allowing UK motorists to travel across the border into the Republic would remain unchanged after a no-deal Brexit.

The department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said the "default position" would "continue to be the case" despite the British government last week suggesting UK drivers may have to get an international driving permit (IDP) if they want to drive in some European countries, including the Republic.

The British government warned that motorists crossing the border into the Republic after a no-deal Brexit could be turned away if they only have a UK driving licence.

Updated guidance papers suggested a UK driving licence "may no longer be valid by itself when driving in the EU" in the event the UK fails to reach an agreement with Brussels ahead of its departure from the EU next March.

At present UK driving licences are valid across EU states, but should the UK leave without a deal, the government said an IDP might also be required to drive in the EU, including the Republic.

It suggested they may be turned away at borders or face enforcement action if they have not obtained the correct documents.

The guidance papers refer to the UK's "unique relationship" with Ireland and said they would "take full account of the unique circumstances of Northern Ireland" when preparing for a no-deal scenario.

But Sinn Féin's Martina Anderson said the warning could have a disastrous impact, highlighting how it could impact those living in Derry who may have to cross the border to commute to work.

However, the department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said motorists travelling across the border would not require an IDP.

"The UK published its second batch of Brexit guidance notices on Thursday," a spokesperson said.

"The UK's notice sets out that if there is no deal with the EU, then UK licence holders may need to obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP) to drive in other EU countries.

"It is important to note that the default position is that Ireland does not require those holding a driving licence from another country to obtain an IDP in advance of travelling to Ireland.

"That will continue to be the case when the UK has left the EU."

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