Brexit and Transport – what you need to know

Published: 1 November 2019
From: Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport

Current Situation

With the ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement the UK will leave the EU at 11pm on the 31st January 2020.

While the UK will no longer participate in any of the European institutions, EU law will continue to apply to the UK until the end of what is known as the transition period. During this transition period, the EU and the UK will engage in negotiations to determine their future relationship.

The status quo will continue for the duration of the transition period, which, unless extended, is due to end on the 31st December 2020. There are no implications for the Departments’ sectors during the transition period as the UK will continue to apply EU law


If you have a question or issue about Brexit which is not addressed below, please email or call 01 604 1599.

Brexit and Ireland

The decision of the United Kingdom to leave the European Union presents unprecedented challenges for Ireland, including in the fields of Transport, Tourism and Sport.

The government is taking measures to mitigate the negative effects of a “no-deal” Brexit, including passing the Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union (Consequential Provisions) Act 2019. The government has also published a Contingency Action Plan .

You can learn more about the steps being taken to get Ireland Brexit Ready on

You can also sign up to the Brexit Newsletter for Government updates here.

Brexit and the EU

In July 2018 the European Commission published a Communication on preparing for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. This Communication called on Member States, private actors, business operators, professionals and citizens to prepare and take necessary action.

In December 2018, the European Commission began implementing its “no-deal” action plan in which it announced a number of legislative proposals aimed at ensuring basic road, air and cross-border rail connectivity. The Commission has now extended these Regulations in line with the deferment of Brexit. These regulations will now potentially come into force on the next possible ‘no deal date’, 31 January 2020.

The European Commission has also published over 60 sector-specific Preparedness Notices covering a wide range of areas, including road transport, aviation safety, maritime transport, aviation and maritime security, rail transport, and seafarer qualifications. The department would urge stakeholders to familiarise themselves with the material contained in these notices.

Brexit and the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport

The Brexit Unit within the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport seeks to ensure a coordinated approach to Brexit across all of the department’s policy areas and is working to ensure that any impacts to our sectors are minimised. The department is represented on all relevant cross-departmental co-ordination structures and an internal Departmental Committee on Brexit meets regularly. The department is also working closely with our agencies and key stakeholders.

Motor Insurance and Green Cards (Proof of Motor Insurance)

The majority of Irish motor insurance policies already include cover for travel in the UK. In such cases drivers will continue to be insured to drive in the UK even in a no-deal Brexit. If in doubt, policy holders should contact their insurance company to confirm that they have UK cover.

The UK currently comes within the ambit of the EU Motor Insurance Directive which allows all motor vehicles from any EU Member States to travel within the EU without carrying Green Cards to prove that they have insurance. A green card is a document which can be presented to law enforcement officers on request, as proof of motor insurance.

In the event of a no-deal Brexit, for EU-registered vehicles entering the UK, the UK have now confirmed that it will accept either a Green Card or other proof of insurance. In the case of Irish-registered vehicles, the UK has confirmed that it will accept the motor insurance disc as proof of insurance. This means that Green Cards will not now be required for Irish registered vehicles entering Northern Ireland or Great Britain.

In relation to Irish registered motorcycle or agricultural tractor vehicles, some of these vehicles display insurance discs and some do not. If you are travelling to the UK including Northern Ireland, no additional documentation is required if the vehicle has a valid Irish insurance disc. However, if the vehicle does not have a valid Irish insurance disc then it is recommended that you carry your motor insurance certificate with you or obtain a Green Card from your insurance provider.

Any policyholder with an Irish registered vehicle who requests a green card from their insurance provider will be issued with one. Policyholders who receive their motor insurance from an insurance company, should contact that insurance company. Policyholders who receive their motor insurance via a broker should contact that broker.

Green Cards will however be required as proof of motor insurance for UK-registered vehicles entering the EU, including Ireland. This means that UK and Northern Ireland registered vehicles will require a Green Card post-Brexit if driving to Ireland.

The Motor Insurance Bureau of Ireland (MIBI) has also published advice for policy holders.

GB Stickers

It is NOT an offence under Irish or EU law for GB or Northern Ireland registered vehicles to drive in Ireland without a GB sticker attached to the vehicle.

UK (including Northern Ireland) Driving Licences

In the event of a no deal Brexit, a UK driving licence will no longer be valid for persons living in Ireland and such licence holders are being advised to exchange their UK licence for an Irish licence before Brexit.

The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport is planning to put in place appropriate arrangements that will allow for the exchange of a UK driving licence for an Irish driving licence following Brexit. In the absence of alternative arrangements with the UK, you may have to apply for a learner permit if you continue to drive in Ireland. It may also have implications for your insurance cover after this date.

Holders of UK driving licences who are visiting Ireland for periods of up to 12 months will still be able to drive here on that licence.

To exchange your licence you must complete a licence application form and present this, the correct fee and your UK licence at an NDLS centre- you will get more information on the process on the National Driver Licence Service Website. You can find the answer to some common questions on the RSA’s website here.

Brexit and Impacts of Type Approval on Motor Vehicles

This information is provided to industry in particular to provide some clarification in respect of Brexit, the United Kingdom’s (UK) future withdrawal from the European Union (EU). It specifically concerns the type approval of Category M (passenger vehicles), N (goods vehicles), O (their trailers) and L (two and three-wheeled motor vehicles, e.g. motorcycles and mopeds).

In the event of a ‘No-Deal’ Brexit

All EU law will cease to apply to the UK from the Brexit date. This includes EU law relating to type approval of motor vehicles.

Under a special arrangement made under EU Regulation 2019/26 (transposed into Irish law by S.I. No. 53 of 2019) holders of UK type approvals can, up until the Brexit date, transfer their UK approvals to another EU Type Approval Authority. An application must be made to an EU Type Approval Authority in any of the other EU 27 Member States.

With respect to those vehicles that have certificates of conformity (CoC) based on a UK type approval, if the type approval for those vehicles is not transferred to another EU Type Approval Authority, the EU law does not allow for the placing on the market/registration of vehicle stock after the date of Brexit. Therefore, that vehicle stock cannot be registered in Ireland.

If type approval has transferred to another EU Type Approval Authority and the vehicles have been placed on the market by the manufacturer before the date of Brexit, those vehicles can be registered and entered into service after the date of Brexit.

Click Here to see detailed FAQs on Brexit and Type Approval on motor vehicles.

Haulier and Passenger Operating Licences

Please see the department’s Notice to Licensed International Haulage and Passenger Operators.

A no deal Brexit could disrupt Irish hauliers’ and passenger operators’ access to and through the UK. We are working with our EU partners to find solutions for the road transport sector. If the UK leaves the EU with no deal, the EU will have in place a temporary measure until 31 July 2020 so that EU hauliers and passenger operators can continue to access the UK and vice versa.

Certificates of Professional Competence

There are also potential issues around UK issued Certificates of Professional Competence (CPC) for Drivers and Transport Managers and their continued validity after Brexit and recognition of such in Ireland.

  • Driver CPC: A driver with a UK CPC who is resident in Ireland or working for an Irish company should exchange the UK CPC for an Irish CPC in advance of Brexit
  • Transport Manager CPC: In the event of the UK leaving the EU with no agreement, UK issued CPCs will no longer be valid in Ireland or the EU. However, where a licensed operator’s Transport Manager who is resident in Ireland does not meet the requirements, the competent national authority may provide some time (up to six months) for the operator to rectify the situation. It is a requirement under EU law that a Transport Manager must be resident in the EU. Transport Managers who are resident in Northern Ireland or Great Britain will be ineligible to be a Transport Manager in the event of a No-Deal Brexit.

Driver Attestation

After the withdrawal of the UK from the EU, as the UK will be a third country, any Irish licensed operator who employs a UK driver for the international carriage of goods will require a driver attestation. The department’s Road Transport Operator Licensing Unit issues Driver Attestations to operators who have third-country drivers. For UK drivers, the operator must submit a completed application form, a copy of the driver’s passport, valid driving licence and appropriate fee. Applications are available here.

Road Transport Related Matters

The website contains a range of information on other relevant matters. The below is just a small sample of issues that may be particularly relevant to licenced hauliers.

There a number of issues in relation to the transit of goods through the UK after Brexit (the landbridge route).

Current information is summarised in this press release from the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation.

In particular attention is drawn to the information from the Revenue Commissioners regarding the need for comprehensive guarantee and guarantee waivers for transit through the UK after Brexit.

The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation also announced recently an increase in rescue and restructuring aid for the SME sector. This applies to SMEs in all sectors of the economy, with the exception of the steel, coal and financial sectors.

Cross-Border Rail Services

The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport’s priority is to ensure continuity of the Dublin-Belfast Enterprise rail services. Iarnród Éireann and Northern Ireland Railways are working together to ensure the Enterprise service will continue to run post-Brexit. The preparations involve a combination of contractual arrangements between the two companies together with appropriate rail operator and train driver licensing. The essence of the arrangements is to ensure service continuity fully meeting railway safety requirements. The companies are engaged with the independent Commission for Railway Regulation in that regard.

Cross-Border Bus Services

In relation to bus services, a number of contingency measures are in play. In the event of a no-deal Brexit, an EU Regulation will ensure continuity for scheduled bus services to and from the UK. This EU Regulation allows for the continuation of regular and special regular bus services between the EU and the UK up to 31 July 2020.

It also permits for these services to conduct cabotage within the border regions on the island of Ireland for a period of 6 months post-Brexit. Occasional services will be permitted by the accelerated entry of the UK into the Interbus Agreement. This means that cross-border bus services between Ireland and Northern Ireland can continue to operate without significant change.

As a further contingency measure, Part 10 of the Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union (Consequential Provisions) Act 2019 gives new powers to the National Transport Authority in relation to regulating bus services to and from a third country. This Part will only be used in the event of EU-level arrangements no longer being in place.


Ireland is heavily dependent on aviation links with the UK for trade and tourism. Some 44% of all flights to or from Ireland, approximately 113,000 flights per annum, are to or from the UK. The sector contributes more than €4 billion directly to Ireland’s GDP. The tourism sector is critically reliant on aviation connectivity and spending by overseas visitors is approximately €5 billion, of which just over €1 billion is from GB visitors.

The European Commission has adopted a regulation to ensure basic air connectivity with the UK in the event of a no-deal Brexit scenario. The regulation provides for temporary measures until 24 October 2020 to ensure that, in a no deal scenario, air carriers from the UK can land in the EU and fly back to the UK (i.e. operate point to point flights) as well as measures to UK air carriers to fly over the territory of the EU, make stops in the EU for non-traffic purposes (e.g. refuelling without embarkation/ disembarkation of passengers), and perform scheduled and non-scheduled international passenger and cargo air transport services.

Traffic rights for UK carriers providing all-cargo services on routes from airports within the EU27 to third countries will only be available for a limited period of five months, however any such flight must have its origin or destination in the UK. UK air carriers will be able to provide scheduled air services on routes subject to public service obligations in the EU for a maximum of seven months.

These measures are subject to the UK conferring equivalent rights to air carriers from the Union, as well as to the UK ensuring conditions of fair competition. On 7 March 2019, the UK Government issued a statement to confirm that the UK will grant airlines licensed in EU countries a level of access to the UK that is at least equivalent to the rights granted to UK airlines under the EU’s draft regulation on basic air connectivity, for the period during which that draft regulation applies.

Here in Ireland, the National Civil Aviation Development Forum was established in 2016 to facilitate engagement between Government and the air transport sector in Ireland – from airports, to aircraft leasing, to airlines. It has held regular discussions on Brexit, which have informed both the government’s approach to the negotiations and our priorities in them, and our detailed discussions at EU level on Brexit preparedness.

Airline Ownership and Control

A fundamental legal principle of European Aviation is that air carriers wishing to operate in the single aviation market must be majority owned and effectively controlled by EU nationals. The European Commission has been very clear that it is essential for companies that wish to be recognised as EU air carriers to take all necessary measures to re-structure and to ensure that they meet this requirement in time for Brexit. The European Commission has now proposed to allow EU airlines partly owned by UK nationals a further six months beyond Brexit to undertake the necessary actions to achieve EU majority ownership and control.

Aviation Safety

Regarding aviation safety, for certain aeronautical products and companies, the European Aviation Safety Authority (EASA) will only be able to issue certificates once the UK has become a third country.

The European Commission proposes to extend temporarily the validity of certain aviation safety licences/certificates for nine months. The Commission has proposed measures ensuring that parts and appliances placed on the Union market before the withdrawal date, based on a certificate issued by a legal and natural person certified by the UK Civil Aviation Authority, may still be used under certain circumstances. The proposal will allow UK manufacturers to continue producing such products and EU-27 operators to continue utilising such products, in compliance with applicable Union legal requirements.

Passenger Security

The Commission is taking action to ensure that passengers and their cabin baggage flying from the United Kingdom and transiting via airports in EU Member States continue to be exempted from a second security screening, by applying the One Stop Security system.

Maritime Connectivity

The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport updated cabinet on 15 January 2019 on the capacity on direct shipping routes from Ireland to EU continental ports. While the Minister remains of the view that the market is sufficiently responsive to respond to the demands of Brexit and that no intervention by the State at this stage is warranted, the Minister has asked that the Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO) and his department continue to keep under review the evolving situation regarding maritime connectivity to continental ports.

The EU is amending the Connecting Europe Facility Regulation in order to realign the North Sea – Mediterranean (NSMED) Core Network Corridor. In the event of a no deal Brexit, the proposal will align the core TEN-T ports of Dublin, Cork and Shannon-Foynes to core TEN-T ports in Northern France, Belgium and the Netherlands – as the UK will no longer be part of the NSMED Corridor. The proposed alignment as contained in the Annex to this proposal is as follows:

Shannon Foynes/Dublin/Cork – Le Havre/Calais/Dunkerque/Zeebrugge/Terneuzen/Gent/Antwerpen/Rotterdam/Amsterdam

The proposal acknowledges that for Ireland, maritime links represent a key means of ensuring its direct connectivity with mainland Europe, particularly in view of the uncertain evolution of trade flows passing over the United Kingdom ‘land bridge’.

Amended legislation on ship inspection organisations will provide legal certainty for ship operators when the UK leaves the EU.

Brexit Maritime Connectivity Workshop: 4th September

Pilot Exemption Certificates

Under the Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union (Consequential Provisions) Act 2019 the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport has included amendments to the Harbours Act 1996 to address concerns by providing for the period of validity of Pilot Exemption Certificates (PECs) issued by harbour companies from the existing maximum one year period to a maximum of three years and to allow holders of existing PECs to apply for new certificates in the period leading up to when the UK becomes a third country, notwithstanding the fact that their PECs may not have expired.

Marine Notices

The Marine Survey Office (MSO) has also published a number of Marine Notices in order to draw attention to the maritime-related Preparedness Notices issued by the European Commission.

The following Brexit-related Marine Notices have been published by the Marine Survey Office to date:

Marine Notice No 7 of 2018

Marine Notice 23 of 2018

Marine Notice No. 34 of 2018

Marine Notice 37 of 2018

Marine Notice 1 of 2019

Marine Notice 46 of 2019


The UK is a very significant market for the Irish tourism industry with more than 3 million British tourists contributing almost €1 billion to the economy each year.

Brexit will have an impact on the sector – from the impact of currency fluctuations on individual tourist decisions, to impact on the supply chain for the hospitality sector. Though the final shape of Brexit is not yet clear, there are steps that tourism businesses can take to minimise any disruption.

Tourism supports

In particular, Fáilte Ireland has developed a range of advisory and training supports as well as targeted marketing campaigns to help tourism businesses prepare for Brexit. The focus of Brexit Response Programme is to retain and build new business from the UK as well as to diversity into new markets. Please see Fáilte Ireland’s site for further details on the range of tourism supports that are in place.

For information on how Brexit may affect a range of tourism related areas such as transport and mobile roaming costs, please see Travelling and Visiting.

Supply chain, currency management and working capital

If you source any of your products from the UK, or move them through the UK, you must consider the potential impacts on your supply chain and prepare for any new customs arrangements and the impact they will have on your business.

Sterling and euro volatility is a key concern for all tourism businesses. Brexit may also have an impact on your working capital needs. Guidance on managing currency risk and assessing working capital needs is available on the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation’s website. You are also advised to contact your financial adviser, your accountant, or any professional bodies you are a member of, to see if they have additional advice for you.

For more general information on issues, such as banking or staffing, that may affect your business post-Brexit, please see Brexit and Business. For information on the full range of supports to help businesses prepare for Brexit please see Government Programmes, Funds and Supports.

Share this article