Local drivers who have been banned from driving by courts in the North now face their disqualification being recognised in the Republic.
Until now the motorists in question were only banned from driving in Northern Ireland and Britain, but the Road Safety Authority applied to Dundalk District Court last week to have disqualifications imposed at Newry Magistrate’s Court on five motorists from the Republic, recognised.
The court heard that there is a bi-lateral arrangement between the Road Safety Authority and the British and Northern Ireland authorities which provides for the exchange of information solely in relation to disqualifications.
The bans of up to 18 months were imposed for a variety of offences which were not contested at the original hearings - including drink driving and driving without insurance.
Only one of the applications was contested and Judge Denis McLoughlin in adjourning that case until the 14th of October, told both the Defence solicitor and the RSA’s legal representative to have written submissions prepared.
In such applications, judges in this jurisdiction have discretion on whether to impose the full length of the disqualification which was originally imposed.
Last Thursday a woman explained to the court that she had only recently obtained a job after a lengthy period of being out of work and needed her licence in order to take up the employment.
After she told him she had got to court by bus, Judge McLoughlin told the woman that he would end the disqualification at midnight that night and she would be free to drive from the next day.