Thursday, 1 April 2021
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
40. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of the proposed legislation giving asylum seekers the right to apply for an Irish driver licence, as promised in the White Paper on direct provision; if the legislation is on track to be introduced before summer 2021; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18031/21]
As set out in the Programme for Government, the Government will act on interim recommendations from the Chair of the Expert Group on the Provision of Support, including Accommodation, to Persons in the International Protection Process (Asylum Seekers) to improve conditions for asylum seekers currently living in the system. This includes the ability to apply for driver licences.
Currently, Ireland does not issue driving licences to applicants for international protection as their residence status in the State is not yet determined. To provide for the change in policy and to change the law to allow such applicants access to a driving licence, there are a number of complex legal, administrative and technical issues to consider and resolve. One of these issues is connected to the primary legislative proposal to grant the Minister for Transport the power to revoke a driving licence, planned for inclusion at committee stage hearing of the Road Traffic Bill 2021. The Bill is expected to be introduced to the Houses shortly, after the Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications has concluded pre-legislative scrutiny. Secondary legislation changes will also be required.
While the legislative requirements are being examined, work is continuing on the administrative and technical solutions needed. It is not possible at this time to give a definitive date yet for when these changes will be in place. However, I am assured that my officials are working hard, in close cooperation with all the stakeholders, to make this happen.