Thursday, 15 July 2021
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
154. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if an Irish driver licence can issue to a person (details supplied) resident here who already holds a full UK licence based on passing a driving test in Kenya; if not, the reason it cannot issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38865/21]
Ireland has entered into a licence exchange agreement with the UK so that a UK/NI driving licence can be exchanged for an Irish licence and vice versa. There is an exception to this exchange set out in the agreement. A UK/NI licence category will not be exchanged in Ireland where the licence category originated from a third country whose licences are not accepted for exchange in Ireland.
Ireland does not have a licence exchange agreement with Kenya.
Irish driver licensing law operates within a framework of EU law, which sets out the driver licensing legislation with which all Member States must comply. The format of driving licences, categories of vehicles, and the standards to be met in driving tests to qualify for a licence, are all set at EU level. A Member State may exchange a driving licence issued by a third country (e.g. Kenya) but another Member State does not have to mutually recognise such a licence.
Driver licensing exists in the interests of public safety and is in essence about ensuring that people licensed to drive on our roads have reached certain recognised standards. When people come to Ireland with a non-exchangeable licence, we have no option but to require them to go through the process of obtaining an Irish licence. While many may have a safe driving record, we have no way of measuring that the standards have been met.