Tuesday, 12 February 2019
Ceisteanna (Atógáil) - Questions (Resumed) - Ceisteanna ar Sonraíodh Uain Dóibh - Priority Questions
I thank Deputy Munster for her question. The green card is issued within the 48 countries covered by the Council of Bureaux for motor insurance and is a document whose production may be required to prove that insurance cover is in place for vehicles travelling between these countries, where alternative legislative provisions are not in place.
All EU member states are party to this system but the EU does not require production of a green card when travelling between member states. However, the default position is that green cards are required for vehicles entering the EU from third countries unless the EU Commission declares otherwise.
If the UK were to exit the EU without a deal, the default position would be that green cards would be required for EU-registered vehicles entering the UK and for UK-registered vehicles entering the EU. While the Government remains of the view that the best and only way to ensure an orderly withdrawal of the UK from the EU, including avoiding the necessity for green cards, is the ratification of the withdrawal agreement reached between the EU and the UK, the Government recognises that it is prudent to plan for the possibility of a no-deal exit.
The motor insurance industry is therefore behaving prudently in being prepared for the possibility that green cards will be required, even though this is not a desirable outcome. In line with the current expected Brexit date of 29 March 2019, the Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland, MIBI, has indicated that insurers and insurance brokers will begin issuing green cards to policyholders from March if no agreement has been reached between the UK and the EU on Brexit and the process has not been further delayed. At that point anyone who plans on driving their Irish-registered vehicle in Northern Ireland or Britain should contact their insurer or insurance broker one month in advance of their expected travel date to ensure they receive their green card in sufficient time.
The MIBI has responsibility for the operation of the green card scheme in Ireland but individual insurance companies or brokers will issue them on its behalf. The insurers and insurance brokers are commercially run organisations and are independent in the actions that they take. The application processes involved are a matter for each individual company. Likewise any cost is a matter for the individual companies. The MIBI has indicated that some companies might charge a small administration fee.
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. This is a matter between the EU and the UK.
Additional information not given on the floor of the House
It would be wholly inappropriate as well as ineffective for an individual member state to seek to make a unilateral intervention with the UK authorities. The setting of a date is possible under Article 8(2) of the motor insurance directive. The Commission has not given agreement to date and the Government continues to pursue the matter with it. The Commission advised the MIBI and the international Council of Bureaux that it is keeping the matter under close and constant review as part of its Brexit preparedness work.