Penalty points border loophole to close by 2015

Friday 05 October 2012 23.40
A timetable has been agreed for penalty points to be mutually recognised on both sides of the border
A timetable has been agreed for penalty points to be mutually recognised on both sides of the border

A loophole that allows offending motorists to escape penalty points when they cross the border into Northern Ireland will be closed by 2015.

Ministers from Dublin and Belfast have agreed a timetable to enact legislation to provide mutual recognition of points in both jurisdictions.

At present a motorist from Northern Ireland caught speeding in the Republic would not get the resulting points endorsed on his or her licence, and vice versa.

Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar held talks with Stormont ministers Danny Kennedy and Alex Attwood today at a North-South Ministerial Council transport meeting in Armagh.

Mr Varadkar said a detailed timetable for implementation had been agreed, which will see legislation enacted north and south by 31 December 2014.

"We made real progress on the mutual recognition of penalty points, and have agreed on a detailed timeline," said Mr Varadkar.

"I look forward to a time when it won't be possible to escape penalty points simply by crossing the border.

"This level of co-operation between the two jurisdictions is very important.

"Even though we live in two separate jurisdictions, new EU laws are regularly introduced which affect citizens north and south in the same way.

"For this reason it makes sense for us to work with our equivalent departments in the North on important issues that affect us."

Mr Varadkar said he had also invited Mr Attwood and Mr Kennedy to take part in road safety and transport meetings being held as part of Ireland's presidency of the European Union in 2013.

A number of events will bring senior officials, agencies and interest groups from across Europe to Ireland during the presidency, including a number relating to road safety and intelligent transport systems.