Plastic driving licences launched
Published 23/01/2013 | 18:56
New plastic driving licences have been launched in Ireland, bringing the country in line with the rest of Europe.
The credit card-style identity will replace old paper versions, and are expected to boost road safety by making it more difficult for unlicensed motorists to make forgeries.
Almost 6,000 of the new cards were issued to drivers this week following a changeover on January 19.
It is part of a wider plan to standardise all licences across the European Union where, previously, up to 100 different types were in circulation.
Transport minister Leo Varadkar said the new cards were more secure and more convenient for motorists.
"It's easy to carry, you can carry it in your wallet, and you can use it as ID if you like," Mr Varadkar said.
"It's going to be recognisable across Europe and it's very difficult to forge."
The new version is available to all who have passed their driving test and are applying for their first licence.
Those applying for a learner's permit will also get the card version, as well as those renewing their licence or exchanging a foreign one for an Irish one.
Motorists with paper licences, which are valid for up to 10 years, will get their plastic card licence when the time comes to renew. This means all paper licences will be phased out within the next 10 years.