The Irish Road Haulage Association (IRHA) has today, 24th of June, called on the Irish Government to make urgent representations to the UK and French authorities regarding the escalating threat to Irish international truck drivers traveling through Calais.
The situation in Calais was significantly heightened yesterday when a wildcat strike was undertaken by ferry workers in the port. However the strike action also served to draw attention to the ever growing number of migrants that, on a daily basis, swarm HGVs in an effort to find any means to board the vehicle.
Speaking on the issue, President of the IRHA Ms Verona Murphy said “The IRHA is very concerned that it will be the death of a HGV driver before action of any substance is taken at ground level. The level of policing by the UK and French authorities at Calais is appalling and ultimately no one is taking control of the situation. What we saw in Calais yesterday was only a flavour of what Irish truck drivers are experiencing on a daily basis for the last number of months”
Ms Murphy continued “Irish haulage operators are being fined £2000 per migrant found on a vehicle due to the lack of controls in place by the enforcement authorities in the port. Despite IRHA members having various checklists in place to ensure all access to the vehicle is denied, where a haulage operator is unwittingly found with migrants on-board he is fined regardless. The situation is a threat to the safety of Irish drivers and urgent action is needed as it’s currently a free-for-all out there”.
The Irish Road Haulage Association is calling on the Irish Government to make robust and urgent representations at European level on this ever concerning issue before a fatality occurs.
Calais is an important hub for freight movement into and out of Ireland and with drivers now being forced to transit alternative ports for safety reasons, this is adding significantly to freight costs which in-turn will ultimately affect our export-led economy.
For further comment contact IRHA President Ms Verona Murphy on 087 253 2720