There was good news for returning emigrants this week as fundamental changes to the Irish driving licence regulations were announced by the Department of Transport.
At present, Irish citizens living outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and in a country, or region of a country, that does not have a bilateral driver’s licence agreement with Ireland are required to undertake a mandatory course of 12 Essential Driver Training (EDT) lessons before taking a driving test for a new full Irish driving licence. However, following today’s announcement by Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross, that total will be cut in half to six lessons.
Moving2Ireland.com founder, Ruairi Spillane had this to say on the today’s news, “I am happy that Minister Ross has enacted a much-needed change that will make it easier for Irish citizens to get back on the road with an Irish driving licence after they return to Ireland. There is no doubt that asking fully-qualified Irish drivers who have happened to live abroad for a number of years to complete the exact same number of lessons as a teenager learning for the first time was unfair.
“I raised these issues with Minister’s Ross’s departmental colleague, Minister of State, Brendan Griffin, and Minister of State for the Diaspora, Ciaran Cannon in a meeting in Dublin last week, and I am glad that they have listened to the concerns. The mandatory 12 lessons was a major time and cost obstacle for many Irish emigrants, especially those returning home from the United States, parts of Canada and other regions where a bilateral arrangement was not in place, and I am glad that progress has been made.”
“Some Irish citizens who have returned home or are planning to do so may feel that the requirement to do any driving lessons at all is unfair, which is understandable. However, this is a step in the right direction and proof that the government is listening to the issues of Irish emigrants abroad and those who recently moved back home.”
Minister Ross explained the reasoning behind the reduction from 12 to six EST lessons, stating that “this new system will significantly reduce both the time and the cost involved. I am aware that some people would like us to go further. However, I have weighed up the options, and I am convinced that requiring some lessons will help people to prepare for the test and improve their chances of passing at the first go, as well as helping them to adjust to specifically Irish road traffic rules. This will benefit a growing number of people, as our economy improves and more people come here, including returning emigrants.”
The reduction of EDT lessons from 12 to six followed discussion between Ministers Ross, Cannon and the Road Safety Authority, and the changes are due to take effect on January 21, 2019.
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