Northern Ireland news

Anger over northern drivers requirement to carry 'green card' when crossing the border

Sinn Féin MLA Martina Anderson has hit out at plans requiring northern drivers to carry an insurance 'green card' in the Republic. Picture by Hugh Russell.
Paul Ainsworth

NORTHERN motorists are set to face "headaches and heartache" over rules requiring them to carry an insurance "green card" in order to cross the border in the new year.

The move, confirmed by the Republic's Department of Transport, means anyone from outside the jurisdiction will have to carry the card to prove their insurance policy is valid in Northern Ireland and the Republic.

The new rule will apply after the end of the Brexit transition period on January 1.

"As it stands, following the transition period, a green card will be required for vehicles from the UK, including NI, being driven in Ireland or other EU Member States," the spokesperson said.

UK drivers will also be required to have an International Driving Permit (IDP) in some EU states, however authorities in Dublin have said this will not be a requirement for northern drivers.

An agreement in 2019 between the Motor Insurers' Bureau of Ireland and the UK's Department for Transport, means southern motorists will not require the green card to drive in the north.

Concerns have previously been highlighted about the prospect of motorists having to carry the 'green card' amid uncertainty about how it would operate.

Sinn Féin MLA Martina Anderson, who Foyle constituency is on the border, last night described the development as "disgraceful" and said people would be feeling angry.

"This has exposed the true folly of partition for citizens in the north, and it shows how Brexiteers didn't care about the impact on people's lives.

"In my constituency, for example, we will see a new hurdle for people in Derry who want to drive down the road to see their nearest and dearest in Buncrana, and fresh headaches and heartache for the hundreds of people right across the north who commute to the south," she said.

"I can stand with one foot in Derry, and another in Donegal, yet drivers are being told to prepare for more paperwork to make a short journey. This is a disgraceful development."

A spokesman for the Association of British Insurers said: "Unless the European Commission do the right thing and agree to the UK's membership of the Free Circulation Zone post-Brexit, NI motorists will need to carry a valid green card if they are driving in the Republic or elsewhere in the EU after the transition period ends."

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