Deputy Smyth commented, “Changes are needed to aide returning emigrants in exchanging their foreign driving licences for Irish equivalents. One case in my office saw an Irish national trying to change his UK licence for an Irish one in light of Brexit but ran into complexities because the UK licence originated in the Channel Islands. I have raised this with the Minister for Transport and the Road Saftey Authority and am awaiting their response. This is just one small example of why changes are needed to the current driving licence system.
“Due to current arrangements, in some cases, applicants will have to apply for learner permits, mandatory driving lessons, and then sit a driving test despite decades of driving experience abroad.
“We need to maintain high standards and ensure road safety is to the fore however, the current literal application of rules with blind ambivalence to competency and experience of returning emigrants and immigrants is unacceptable.
“There is a serious inconsistency in this system. Why are Irish citizens, drivers with a full US licence forced to go through the full application process like a teenager when people returning or emigrating from countries like Taiwan and South Korea can exchange their licences for an Irish one.
“Common sense is needed. The Minister for Transport needs to look at the current process. Discretion, within a strict criterion, should be applied when there is a clear level of undeniable competence and experience,” she concluded.