Recently, there have been lots of reports about motorists needing a green card as proof of insurance to travel across the border in the event of a No Deal Brexit.  The issue has been raised a number of times in the Dáil and the Taoiseach has said that there will be a grace period for people driving into this jurisdiction without a green card.  However, as has been the case all along with the Brexit negotiations, we cannot provide for what will happen when the UK crashes out of the EU on March 29th and every necessary step must be taken to ensure that protections are in place where possible, for citizens living on this island.

Deputy Broughan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross, to clarify the need of a green card and today received the following response:

“Currently all Irish motor vehicles travelling within the EU are covered by the terms of the EU’s Motor Insurance Directive.  This allows motor vehicles to travel freely between the State, Northern Ireland and Great Britain as well as within other EU countries. 

 If the UK leaves the EU with a transition period, there should be no immediate change in the position regarding travel.  If the transition period is followed by a lasting arrangement which allows for travel under the current terms, there will be no further changes.  

 Should a no deal Brexit occur, the UK (including Northern Ireland) will no longer be party to the Motor Insurance Directive. This means that, unless action is taken by the European Commission, a Green Card will be required to demonstrate to the authorities in Northern Ireland and Great Britain that valid motor insurance cover is in place for those vehicles, and vehicles from the UK coming to the State will require a Green Card as proof of insurance.  However, even in the case of a no deal scenario, the EU Commission would be able under the Motor Insurance Directive to declare that vehicles entering the EU from the UK would not require a Green Card.  It would be a matter for the UK authorities to determine whether they required a Green Card for Irish vehicles.  My Department continues to actively liaise with the European Commission on this issue.

 As part of necessary contingency preparations, the Motor Insurance Bureau of Ireland (MIBI) has advised that, in the event of a no-deal Brexit, Green Cards will be begin to be issued to affected policyholders in March 2019 and policy holders are advised to contact their insurers a month in advance of their expected travel date.  This is an example of prudent advance planning by the MIBI and the wider insurance sector.

 The Green Card is used as proof of insurance.  The Department understands that the vast 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. However, they will need to carry the Green Card as proof of insurance if no other agreement is reached with the European Commission in the meantime. 

 Not all policies may include such cover in the event of a no-deal Brexit. In that eventuality, drivers who may be travelling to or through Northern Ireland or Great Britain should check their motor insurance policies and, if in doubt, check with their insurers that such travel would be covered.”

Deputy Broughan says “This is yet another example of how profoundly Brexit is affecting the lives of those outside of the UK.  There seems to be no understanding in the UK about the lives of people living around the border or those who commute between the North and the South for work.   Of course, I commend the sectors that are preparing for a No Deal Brexit and as the clock is ticking closer to B-Day on March 29th it still seems very possible that a disorderly Brexit is what we will be faced with.”