The new plastic card driving licence will be introduced here early in the new year, Transport Minister Leo Varadkar confirmed yesterday.
The licence will be introduced from Jan 19, with all driving licences and learner permits issued in the plastic card format, replacing the current paper licences.
This is an EU initiative to introduce a secure, compact style of licence in all member states. The European legislation includes an option to feature the driver’s address on the licence but the Department of Transport opted not to do this for security and logistical reasons.
“Anyone who applies for a licence or learner permit after Jan 12 will receive the new version. I also intend to transfer responsibility for the driver licence service to the Road Safety Authority in January,” the minister said. “The cost of a 10-year licence will be €55 from Jan 1. A three-year licence fee will be €35 and a one-year licence will be €25. Under the terms of the EU directive, the three-year licences will only be available to those over 60.”
Mr Varadkar said this new price for a full licence compared favourably to the €85 cost for a full licence in Spain, €62 in Britain and more than €100 in Australia. It is also better value than a 10-year Irish passport, which costs €80. The new fees represent the first licence fee increase since 2001.
Meanwhile, Defence Minister Alan Shatter expressed his confidence in the capacity of the Defence Forces to deliver on their duties, despite “many challenges”.
“Major re-organisation and reform is being delivered in order to protect operational capability to the maximum extent in response to the significant reduction in the resources available over recent years.
“This has posed many challenges for military personnel. It is noteworthy that the Defence Forces have continued to deliver on all fronts and this is a tribute to the personnel involved.”
In 2013, the priority will remain on maintaining the capability to operate at home and overseas. As part of the Comprehensive Review of Expenditure, the Government agreed to stabilise the strength of the Permanent Defence Force at 9,500 personnel.
The implementation of new organisational structures for the Reserve Defence Force will continue in 2013, he said.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved