New rules come in to force next January

The process of getting an Irish driving licence is about to get a lot faster for emigrants returning to Ireland, and those who are taking up residence here.

New regulations have been signed by the Transport Minister which will allow people to exchange their driving licence for the Irish equivalent.

The new rules will apply to those who've obtained a licence from another EU jurisdiction, or from a country with which Ireland has a bilateral agreement.

There's also good news for people who've gotten a full-licence from a non-EU country where an exchange programme isn't in place.

They'll be able to take the Irish driving test after 6 EDT lessons rather than 12, which will reduce the time and cost associated with applying for a licence.

The new measures will take effect from January 21st 2019.

The moves have been welcomed by the Minister of State for the Diaspora, Ciaran Cannon TD, who says "we now need to continue to work across all areas of Government to remove any further barriers affecting Irish people that wish to return to Ireland to work and live."