Belfast Telegraph

Penalty points loophole to close

A loophole that allows offending motorists to escape penalty points when they cross the Irish border will be closed by 2015, authorities have announced.

Ministers from Dublin and Belfast have agreed a timetable to enact legislation to provide mutual recognition of points in both jurisdictions.

At present, a motorist from Northern Ireland caught speeding in the Republic would not get the resulting points endorsed on his or her licence, and vice versa.

Irish Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Leo Varadkar and Stormont's Minister for Regional Development Danny Kennedy and Environment Minister Alex Attwood held talks on the issue at a North South Ministerial Council Transport meeting in Armagh.

Mr Varadkar said a detailed timetable for implementation had been agreed, which will see legislation enacted north and south by December 31, 2014.

He added: "We made real progress on the mutual recognition of penalty points and have agreed on a detailed timeline. I look forward to a time when it won't be possible to escape penalty points simply by crossing the border.

"This level of co-operation between the two jurisdictions is very important. Even though we live in two separate jurisdictions, new EU (European Union) laws are regularly introduced which affect citizens north and south in the same way.

"For this reason it makes sense for us to work with our equivalent departments in the North on important issues that affect us, such as trans-European networks for transport, and new EU laws on airport noise levels and landing slots."

Mr Varadkar said he had also invited Mr Attwood and Mr Kennedy to take part in road safety and transport meetings being held as part of Ireland's presidency of the EU in 2013.

A number of events will bring senior officials, agencies, interest and industry groups from across Europe to Ireland during the presidency, including a number relating to road safety and intelligent transport systems.

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