Thursday, 7 June 2012
First stage was to start the legal process but to avoid having to pay Vehicle Registration Duty (V.R.T.). VRT is due on all cars which Ireland decides are 'new' and is anxious to get their slice of any moneys you might make by importing cars and selling them on, so to avoid paying it, you must prove that it's your car, for your use, which you genuinely owned prior to moving to Ireland, brought with you, still own and intend to continue to own and not sell on.
You can now make an appointment at a nearby VRT (Car Registration) Office which is 'round the back' of your nearby car testing station (National Car Test or NCT, which is the local equivalent to the MOT in England). This was the stage where we had to drive to Sligo through all that lovely scenery, which I think I have covered in an earlier post. Here Mum managed to get through 2 paperwork stages (including more proof of ID and proffering your exemption paperwork) and scored a new registration for the Fiat. The 2CV falls over at this point as it is 'a classic' (which translates as "the lady was unable to find a code for 1986 2CV on the system and had to refer the problem up to higher authority".) She (Clara Bow) has got no further. At 7th June she is now 7 days out of UK tax and UK insurance so Dad has had to take her off the road for now. We await word from Sligo VRT. Meanwhile, the story continues with just the Fiat Panda.
Note that to drive legally in Ireland, you should display in your windscreen a 3-pocket version of the UK 'tax disc holder', and the three pockets should display your tax disc, your proof of insurance and your proof of passing an NCT test. At this stage we have none of these and do not even have the three pocket holder, just our good old UK tax discs.
We try to pay road tax on the Fiat but the website process demands an insurance policy number so we back out. We contact FBD insurance (who insure our house) and find (tadaaaa!) that they are able to set up insurance even in the fluid state of semi-legal cars on UK plates, so we insure both cars. We need letters from the two UK insurers to verify our no-claims but both Direct Line (the Fiat) and Footman James (2CV) oblige. Direct Line can't cope with posting the proof to us here because their computer system DEMANDS a post code and Ireland doesn't have post codes. We have to get the letters sent to Pud Lady in Hastings (UK) and posted on by Tom (Thanks Tom!). The insurance for the 3-pocket holder will proudly say the UK registration numbers, but we can get that changed easily enough).
With Irish Insurance policies, we can now proceed to road tax (Fiat Only, we still have not Irish Reg for the 2CV). With an Irish reg number for the Fiat we can bimble round to our local garage and get Irish number plates made up and then book the car into its NCT test. Our local station (Castlerea) cannot do us till June 12th, so we hunt around and find that the one in Carrick on Shannon can do Sat 2nd June. We get the garage to do a 'pre-test' (which is free but on the nod-and-a-wink understanding that you bring the car to them for any work needed). They find 'borderline' front tyres and ball joints but advise us it's worth a punt. Needing to use Carrick turns out to be a bonus because Carrick turns out to be not only a lovely river side boating town, but also has a wealth of shops which we should probably go have a good look round. Very picturesque. Lots of people in deck-shoes!
The Fiat unfortunately fails, as feared, on the tyres and ball joints, so is now booked back into the garage for that work, but should then be OK to get retested within 28 days and we may soon have one legal car! More on the 2CV when there is something to report. I fear we may be a while!