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Irish vehicle registration plates

Number plates in the Republic of Ireland conform to the European standard, with a blue band, 12 stars of the European flag and country identifier. Until 1987 a British system of identifiers was used in all of the island of Ireland, i.e. both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The numbers on a plate follow the following format reading from left to right:

  • A two-digit year identifier.
  • A one- or two-letter county identifier.
  • A sequence number, starting with 1.

County Identifier

Irish car registration plates generally follow administrative county and some cities, with the year of first registration followed by one or two letters from the name of the administrative county. Currently, the Revenue Commissioners, the Irish Government agency responsible for vehicle registration in the Republic of Ireland is updating their operational capabilities, which will allow them to issue definitive vehicle registration indices solely by administrative county or city. Currently they provide separate indices for the cities of Limerick and Waterford, as well as the administrative counties of North Tipperary and South Tipperary. They do not provide indices as yet for the counties of Cork and Galway; or Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown, Fingal and South Dublin counties. These are expected to be CK (remainder of Cork), GY (remainder of Galway), DR, FL, and SN respectively.

Typically, a populous area with many registrations has a one-letter code, with others getting two-letter codes. In general, two-letter codes are formed from the initial letter of the county name followed by the final letter, although in some cases this is altered to avoid confusion with other areas (WaterforD/WexforD and KerrY/KilkennY). In all cases the English name of the county is used to derive codes; this caused some controversy when the system was introduced, with many people arguing that the Irish-language name should have been used.

Sequence numbers may be "reserved" on completion of the relevant documents and payment of a fee, although this is rarely done. The first sequence number (1) in each year is reserved in cities for the sole use of the Lord Mayor or Mayor of that city. Thus, for instance, in the year 2005, the Lord Mayor of Dublin was entitled to receive the registration plate 05-D-1 and display it on a vehicle registered in his name.

Statutory Instruments

The original statutory instrument was given in 1986 in the Irish Statute Book, later in 1992 new specification was released with the most recent specification released in 1999. The original specification gives the codes as well as the (administrative/historic) county in English whilst the latter two specifications give the county or city in Irish and are often quite ambiguous in stating the other characteristics discussed.

Previous statutory instruments gave the codes used from the British system used in the Republic of Ireland. These include Road Vehicles (Index Marks) Regulations, 1958 and Road Vehicles (Index Marks) Regulations, 1970. There are also many other specifications which give individual and small groups of codes amended and supplemented during this period.

List of County Identifiers

County Carlow - CW
County Cavan - CN
County Clare - CE
County Cork - C
County Donegal - DL
County Dublin - D
County Galway - G
County Kerry - KY
County Kildare - KE
County Kilkenny - KK
County Laois - LS
County Leitrim - LM
County Limerick - LK
Limerick City - L
County Longford - LD
County Louth - LH
County Mayo - MO
County Meath - MH
County Monaghan - MN
County Offaly OY
County Roscommon - RN
County Sligo - SO
County Tipperary
North Tipperary - TN
South Tipperary - TS
County Waterford - WD
Waterford City - W
County Westmeath - WH
County Wexford - WX
County Wicklow - WW

External links

These statutory instruments give the full specifications:

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