Mary Skehan, Authorised Officer, Clare Motor Tax, explained: “Applications for a licence or learner permit will continue to be made at the local Motor Tax Office but the facility to provide over-the-counter licences will no longer be available after January 12th next. This is because the new format licence will be produced in a specialist facility, due to the card’s high-level security features, and posted out to the applicant.”
“The Clare Motor Tax Office will continue to process new licence applications and renewals until September 2013; after which licences will be processed by the RSA under the banner of the National Driver Licence Service (NDLS),” Ms. Skehan added.
According to Mr. Noel Brett, CEO, Road Safety Authority: “Under EU law, Ireland, along with all other EU member states, must introduce a new credit card sized driving licence by 19 January 2013. While some EU countries already have a plastic card licence format, they are not all the same - there are over 100 different styles of licence across EU countries. The new card being issued will be standardised across all EU member states.”
He added: “Among its key benefits are that it is more durable, convenient and less susceptible to fraud, but it will also act as a key road safety tool to keep those who are illegally driving a vehicle off our roads. Centralising the licensing service means that from January, the RSA will now have full responsibility for road safety, from driver education, training, testing, licensing and vehicle roadworthiness.”
The new plastic card licence will only be available to those who have passed their driving test and are applying for their first driving licence, are renewing their learner permit or driving licence, or are exchanging a foreign driving licence for an Irish driving licence.
As all old paper licences are valid for a maximum of 10 years, they will be replaced on a phased basis as they expire, meaning that by 2023, everyone in Ireland should have a new plastic card licence. All other licences will remain valid until their expiry date.
The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport recently announced that from 1 January 2013, a ten year licence will cost €55. A three-year licence will cost €35 and a one-year licence will be €25. The cost of a learner permit is €35. Changes to existing licences and permits, for example, if you wish to add a ‘New Category’, will cost €35. Licences for the over 70s will remain free of charge. Under the terms of the EU 3rd Directive, a three-year licence will only be available on medical grounds or where a person is 67 years or older.
This cost of a full licence compares favourably to the €85 cost for a full licence in Spain, €62 in Great Britain and more than €100 in Australia. The new fees represent the first driving licence fee increase since 1989.
For more information and the new licence, the changes to some driver licensing rules and NDLS, visit www.ndls.ie where you can download an information leaflet on the changes.