Thomas Pringle TD

Access to Cancer care post Brexit for people travelling to the North from Donegal

For Written Answer on : 16/04/2019
Question Number(s): 476 Question Reference(s): 17435/19
Department: Transport, Tourism and Sport
Asked by: Thomas Pringle T.D.


To ask the Minister for Transport; Tourism and Sport if his attention has been drawn to the potential impact a hard Brexit will have on cancer patients in County Donegal seeking to access care at a hospital (details supplied) or travelling to Dublin from Northern Ireland in view of the fact that they will require a green card for their car insurance to travel to Northern Ireland in their own vehicle; if a fast-track service for a green card will be arranged for those that cannot wait for the waiting period of one month for a green card; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Details Supplied) Altnagelvin


First of all, I should emphasise that it remains my view and that of the Government that the best way for Brexit to be implemented is through ratification of the deal agreed between the EU and the UK.  Among other matters, this would remove the possibility that Green Cards might be needed for cross-border travel.  Green Cards are documents which can be required as proof of motor insurance for international travel – they are not insurance policies.

There are 48 countries which are part of the Green Card system, including all EU Member States.  The EU Motor Insurance Directive provides that no Green Cards are necessary when travelling between Member States.  When the UK leaves the EU it will cease to be a Member State, and if there were to be a hard Brexit, the default position is that Green Cards would be required for EU-registered vehicles travelling to the UK and for UK-registered vehicles travelling to the EU.

If a no deal Brexit were to occur, it would still be possible under the terms of the Motor Insurance Directive for the EU Commission to declare that UK-registered vehicles did not need a Green Card to enter the EU.  The requirement for such a decision – that the motor insurance bureaux of all Member States request it – has been met, but the Commission has yet to make a decision, and is unlikely to until the UK becomes a third country.

In the meantime, and in preparation for the possibility of a no deal Brexit, the Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland (MIBI) and the insurance industry have for some time been preparing for the introduction of Green Cards.  The MIBI has overall responsibility for the system, and issues Green Cards to insurers and brokers, who in turn issue them to their customers.

I understand from my discussions with the MIBI and Insurance Ireland that individual companies have adopted different approaches to the issuing of Green Cards.  Some are issuing them to all customers, some are issuing them automatically to customers in Border areas and on request to others, and some are issuing them only on request.  The issuing of the Cards began last month, in order to be ready for the original deadline of 29 March 2019.

While neither I nor my Department has any role in the process of issuing Green Cards, I believe that the insurance companies and the MIBI have behaved responsibly in working to ensure that Green Cards would be available to all who might need them.

The fact that the Brexit deadline has now been extended further means that, if the outcome were to be a no deal Brexit, there would be no reason for anyone to have difficulties in obtaining Green Cards in time.

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