The Irish Road Haulage Association (IRHA) has stated today, the 19th of August, that it has held a very constructive meeting with Minister Donohoe and the Department of Transport in relation to the threat to Irish haulage operators and their drivers transiting the port of Calais.
The IRHA has been actively highlighting the need for flexibility in respect to HGVs caught up in the chaos of Calais and who are subsequently breaking their driver’s hour’s requirement as a result of the circumstances in the port. The Association has been at pains to safeguard its members from substantial fines for breaches of the hours that may be forthcoming at a later date.
Following constructive discussions this week with Minister Donohoe and officials from the Department of Transport, the Minister undertook to make robust representation to the relevant authorities in Ireland to request that haulage vehicles that have breached their permitted driving hours as a direct result of the migrant crisis in Calais would not be fined and prosecuted. Such an undertaking from the Minister has been warmly welcomed by the IRHA and its members.
In addition, the Department of Transport will make representations to their counterparts in the UK Department for Transport where all precautionary measures have been followed by a haulage operator but yet clandestine entrants are still found on-board the vehicle and the haulage operator and driver are fined accordingly.
This level of support from Minister Donohoe and his Department has greatly relieved the stress and concern for haulage operators in respect to the safety of their driver and vehicle. Commenting after the meeting, President of the IRHA Ms Verona Murphy stated; “I am pleased with the commitment and support Minister Donohoe and his department have provided to the Irish Road Haulage Association on a matter that has been nothing short of a nightmare for my members over the last six - eight weeks.”
Ms Murphy continued “The fact that common sense will prevail in respect to breaches of the driver’s hour’s rules, as a direct result of disruption in Calais, is a huge relief for my members. Representation to the UK authorities by the Department of Transport in Ireland on behalf of haulage operators found with clandestine entrants on-board is a significant weight of concern lifted from the shoulders of the industry.”
However, the Association warns that there will be no room for complacency and the IRHA is continuing to advise its members to safeguard their equipment and load by implementing the Border and Immigration Agency’s vehicle security checklist in order to afford as much protection as possible given the very challenging circumstances.
For further information please contact IRHA President Verona Murphy on 087 253 2720