Tuesday 19 March 2019

Million green cards to be issued to motorists for travel to North

Compared female TD to donkey: Minister Shane Ross. Photo: Arthur Carron
Compared female TD to donkey: Minister Shane Ross. Photo: Arthur Carron

Wayne O'Connor, Laura Larkin and Cormac McQuinn

Motorists have been urged to contact their insurers as more than one million green cards are expected to be issued so drivers can cross the Border after Brexit.

Transport Minister Shane Ross said he expects insurance companies to issue the cards from next week.

He said the cards should be issued unprompted, but motorists who regularly drive in the Border region have been urged to contact their insurer immediately to get one.

The Motor Insurers' Bureau of Ireland (MIBI) has said green cards will have to be carried by motorists in Irish-registered vehicles travelling to the UK, including to Northern Ireland, as proof of insurance.

Mr Ross said this was not a move the Government wanted to see.

"As part of its contingency planning, the Government has raised this matter directly with the European Commission seeking agreement from it to set a date from which green cards would not be required as is possible under the EU's Motor Insurance Directive.

"The Commission has not given agreement to date and the Government continues to pursue the matter with it."

His comments came after he was involved in a heated Dáil exchange on the issue, when he compared a female TD to a "donkey" after describing her colleagues as "thoroughbreds".

Louth Sinn Féin TD Imelda Munster criticised the minister's handling of the green car issue and said he was "blind to the sensitivities around this issue" for people living in the Border region. Mr Ross launched into a stinging attack on her.

He said her party colleagues Pearse Doherty and Aengus Ó Snodaigh had engaged in a "sensible discussion" on the green card issue.

"They were like thoroughbreds in a horse race. Deputy Munster came in, as she normally does, like a donkey at the last fence."

He later apologised to Ms Munster, saying: "I'm sorry for any offence caused by my analogy. I was caught up in the heat of the debate."

Irish Independent

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