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Irish Coach Companies Demand Fair Competition

Irish coach operators are claiming victimisation over their number plates. They believe themselves to be at a significant disadvantage because of the 'dateless' registrations available to their cross-border competitors.

They feel so strongly about the effect this is having on their businesses that they are even prepared to pay up to €4,000 to secure their own private plates.

Under the present arrangements, the Republic's coaches are licensed like any other vehicles so their ages are clearly apparent. The Northern Irish system gives fleet operators their own distinctive M prefix, unrelated to the year of registration.

The Irish Coach and Tourism Council (CTTC) argues that, given the choice, most tour operators would be attracted by the dateless plates of their competitors, even though, in reality, the vehicles may be many years older.

CTTC chief executive, Gerry Mullins complains that, "‘This allows Northern coach companies to compete for premium business without going to the expense of buying new vehicles every year."

He has a fair point, although one has to question the practice of date indicators in the first place. There can be no advantage other than shear snobbery on behalf of the vehicle's owner. After all, you can't legally sell it without the DVLA documentation which clearly shows the actual year of registration, so what is the big deal?

Given that it is perfectly permissible to disguise your car's age with a 'dateless' plate, the dictat that you cannot use a replacement plate to make it appear newer really serves no purpose, other than to support new car sales.

Yet, personal number plate dealers such as Regtransfers.co.uk, the UK's leading specialist, have often to disappoint potential purchasers wishing to select otherwise great plates.

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