The Irish Road Haulage Association (IRHA) is scheduled to hold an emergency meeting with Minister Donohoe and his department officials next Monday morning, the 14th of December, to make representations following ever increasing pressure on Irish road haulage operators from migrants seeking to illegally board their vehicles when transiting the Port of Calais en-route to the UK.
While there have been some minor operational improvements at ground level, the IRHA has stated that its members continue to receive huge fines from the UK Border Force where clandestine entrants are detected on a HGV. This is despite these vehicles passing through numerous checks conducted by both UK and French border agents within the port.
President of the IRHA Ms Verona Murphy stated “Irish haulage operators are being fined £2000 per migrant found on a vehicle due to the lack of controls in place by the UK and French enforcement authorities. Our members are essentially being required to act as border agents and this approach is totally unacceptable. We have now entered a new phase in this crisis in that member vehicles are being seized for non-payment of these exorbitant fines. We are aware of one driver who was essentially dumped on the side of the road in the UK when his vehicle was taken from him by the UK authorities for the non-payment of such fines”.
Ms Murphy continued; “We are being treated like criminals for circumstances that are beyond our control. We do not feel we have received adequate support from Government on this subject matter. Minister Paschal Donohoe and his department must offer greater assistance to the sector as the circumstances are unsustainable. Now with vehicles being seized by the UK authorities we are totally exposed”.
The Irish Road Haulage Association is calling on the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport to make robust and urgent representations to the UK and its Border Force before affected Irish operators are forced to cease trading which could see the loss of hundreds of jobs.
For further comment contact IRHA President Ms Verona Murphy on 087 253 2720