Brexit bureaucracy? 'Green card' required for UK drivers in Ireland
Starting next year, drivers in Northern Ireland — part of the UK — will have to produce a special insurance document to travel south to the Republic of Ireland and into the European Union.
The so-called green card will provide confirmation that a vehicle from outside the EU is insured within the bloc.
The new rule will apply from January 1, 2021, after the end of the Brexit transition period, unless a different system is agreed on as part of fractious trade talks between the UK and the EU.
Current Brexit plans will keep the border open between Northern Ireland (in the UK) and the Republic of Ireland (in the EU). But there are growing concerns that this requirement on vehicle insurance will be costly and could be a sign of trouble to come as the UK diverges from EU rules and regulations.
"This is just another layer of bureaucracy if introduced, albeit feedback from some of the insurance sector says that insurance certificates already have this green card provision already included,” said John Martin, policy manager at the Road Haulage Association in Northern Ireland.
"If insurance companies begin to start charging operators for this, and if there is a limit on the duration of the green cards, then that adds to the burden hauliers are already facing as a consequence of Brexit."
While motorists will not be required to hold an international driving permit, in the border town of Newry on UK side of the Irish border, the introduction of insurance green cards is causing concern.
"I work in the south of Ireland and live in the North of Ireland, so obviously having to travel up and down every day would be the inconvenience of having to apply for this, and how often does it have to be applied for so that would definitely be a concern for me," said one man.
"As an Irish citizen and an Irish passport holder I would have concerns having to show my documentation,” said another.
As far as the Irish Government is concerned, these changes are likely to be the first of many.
"Brexit will also bring changes, many of which, most of us don't want. Unfortunately, those changes are going to be difficult for people on both sides of the border," said Irish Minister for EU Affairs Thomas Byrne.
"On the issue of the green card for insurance, that is currently a requirement of the European Commission for cars coming from outside the European Union. That may change, but we don't have indications of that yet."