Returning emigrants being denied driving licence before they return home, despite EU law — O’Mahony

Fine Gael TD for Mayo and chairman of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications John O’Mahony has called for the driving licence service to enable emigrants to renew their driving test ahead of their return home so that their licence will be ready for them when they return. “Following questions I put to Minister for Transport, Leo Varadkar, in Dáil Eireann, I have received confirmation from the Department of Transport that EU licensing laws require that people returning for a job or third level education place should be allowed to renew their driving licence from abroad. However the Irish driving licence system is currently not facilitating people who are applying for driving licences from abroad. Under the Irish system they can only renew it by appearing in person which means that they must go back to the process, do the test and theory test. EU law outlines that to be entitled to a licence, you must be ‘normally resident’ in the country granting the licence. However licences should be provided on receipt of a letter from an employer stating that he or she is working on a fixed term contract/placement; correspondence from the college/university confirming the title and duration of the course he or she is studying; evidence of being ‘normally resident’ in Ireland: This could be by way of the person’s address on a recent utility bill, a statement from a financial institution, correspondence from a State Department or Agency. Irish people who are planning to return home are being incorrectly denied the opportunity to apply for their driving licence from abroad. I call on the driving licence service to immediately change their policy in relation to facilitating the provision of driving licences for returning emigrants. We need to encourage Irish people to return home not drive them away.”

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