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Minister for Transport resorts to name calling in debate on green card issue – Munster

6 March, 2019 - by Imelda Munster TD

Sinn Féin Spokesperson for Transport Imelda Munster TD has hit out at Minister for Transport Shane Ross over his lack of preparedness ahead of Brexit.

Deputy Munster was speaking on Committee Stage of the Brexit Bill this morning, where she criticised the government and the Minister for Transport for their lack of planning, in particular Minister Ross’s “hands off” approach to making arrangements for cross border travel, including the need for motorists to carry insurance green cards in the case of a no deal Brexit.

Minister Ross resorted to name-calling in the chamber this morning, and speaking later, Deputy Munster called on the Minister to apologise, saying that “I don’t think that this is an appropriate way for the Minister to conduct himself. What message does this send out to other women who may have an interest in getting involved in politics? I believe that Minister Ross should apologise for his distasteful remarks.”

Deputy Munster said:

“I had submitted an amendment that would ensure that the Minister for Transport had the powers to make arrangements with the EU to ensure that motorists can travel freely across the border in the case of a no deal Brexit. This amendment was ruled out of order, a decision I unsuccessfully appealed.

“We know that under article 8(2) of the EU Motor Insurance Directive, the EU can give a waiver to Britain and the North to ensure that there is no need for insurance green cards. They did it for other countries, including Serbia in 2011.

“Minister Ross should have been pushing this at EU level. Instead, he washed his hands of it and there is no arrangement in place. I questioned him at the transport committee some weeks ago and he had very little information on it. He couldn’t tell me what interventions he had made with the EU and Britain to ensure that there was an agreement in place ahead of Brexit. This should have been done and dusted by now if he had bothered to do his job.

“Minister Ross does not understand the sensitivities of this issue for people on the border. We are talking about people going to work every day, farmers accessing their own land, families visiting on another and tourists. Many people will not accept that they will have to carry a green card for these purposes. Others are completely confused as to what the situation is.

“Minister Coveney had the attitude in the Dáil last night that we might not like it, but that’s the way it is. This is rubbish. He knows that this was easily avoided.

“Minister Ross dropped the ball on this, and the people are the ones who will suffer. There is confusion, worry and upset amongst drivers who travel across the border regularly.

“Other issues around the Common Travel Area have been resolved. Other Ministers ensured that matters that fell within their briefs were sorted out ahead of March 29th. It is ridiculous that the Minister couldn’t manage to have arrangements in place by now.” 

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