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Written Answers - Road Safety

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 755 No. 1

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 259. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin  asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar  if he will review the situation whereby farmers are experiencing difficulty due to EB licences not being [214]granted; if he will consider Irish Farmers’ Association proposals to help resolve this matter; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7311/12]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar Prior to 1989, the driver licensing system permitted a car and trailer to be driven under the car licence alone. Licence categories were then changed, with separate categories covering car (Category B) and car and trailer (Category EB). People licensed to drive with trailer before 1989 were allowed to keep their old entitlements, simply by indicating this wish on the application form when renewing their licences. Where a pre-1989 licence holder did not indicate that they wished to retain the entitlement, the category was not included on the renewed licence. However, the entitlement could be restored up to ten years after last holding it. If the entitlement to drive with a trailer was allowed to lapse for longer than the ten years, the person was required to apply as a learner for the purposes of driving with a trailer.

The problems this system has caused for some people have been raised before with me. I have considered the issue, and I believe it is of the utmost importance, from a safety perspective, that people are properly qualified and licensed to drive the vehicles they have charge of on our roads. However, I have decided to change the licensing regulations so that those who have a Category B licence, and who wish to acquire a Category EB licence, will now no longer have to wait the usual 6 months before they can take the Category EB test. This change came into effect as of 10 January 2012. I do not propose any further legislative changes in this regard.

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