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No 28 (November 2001/Novembre 2001/November 2001)
The European Commission has decided to ask Ireland to take the necessary measures to comply with the provisions of the Motor Insurance Directive regarding motor liability insurance checks. After a detailed study of Ireland's reactions to a letter of formal notice, dated 20th April, the Commission takes the view that the first Motor Insurance Directive has not been correctly transposed into Irish law. End of July 2001, the Commission has sent a reasoned opinion to Ireland.
The main purpose of the Motor Insurance Directive (72/166/EEC) was to facilitate the free movement of goods and persons within the European Community. It established the abolition of checks on green cards for vehicles normally based in a Member State entering the territory of another Member State.
According to Section 69 (1 - a) of the Road Traffic Act, 1961 (No 24 of 1961), Members of the Irish police force (Garda Síochána) continue to be allowed to make insurance checks in relation to any vehicle bearing an Irish registration plate or any other plate in a public place in the Irish Republic. This provision does not necessarily require any additional condition (e.g. the vehicle being involved in an accident, a mishap or a speed-check). The Commission therefore considers that this provision is not in conformity with Article 2(1) of the first Motor Insurance Directive, as it seems to allow insurance checks - independent of any other check - on vehicles which bear a registration plate of a Member State other than Ireland.
The Irish authorities replied to the Commission's letter of formal notice in a letter dated 26 June 2001 announcing their intention to draft regulations in order to meet the concerns of the Commission. However, no information has been provided regarding the content of these regulations or when they will enter into force. In these circumstances, the Commission has decided to go ahead with the proceedings in order to ensure that Irish law is brought into full conformity with Community law on motor insurance checks.