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Date: 08 February 2010

British drivers disqualified for serious motoring offences on Irish roads now face the same penalties when they return home as the result of an agreement between UK and Eire governments.

Equally, bans handed down in British courts will be recognised and applied to Irish drivers when they return to Eire.

The legislation has become active following a June 2008 agreement involving British, Irish and Northern Ireland ministers.

Irish and British drivers can no longer escape punishment and avoid being excluded from driving on their own roads. Offences covered include dangerous driving, hit and run convictions, drink driving, speeding and driving while disqualified.

Based on the 1998 EU convention on driving disqualification, it does not include disqualification under the penalty points totting up procedures.

The Northern Ireland legislature was involved, said a Department for Transport spokeswoman, because "of the shared border with Eire while we focused on Ireland due to similarities in legislative systems".

She said that although similar agreements could be activated within the EU "we are not actively pressing agreements with other countries and nothing similar to the Irish arrangement is imminent".