Why lifting quotas on non-EEA truckers cannot save Christmas

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The head of the Irish Road Haulage Association said he welcomed a plan to remove the cap on the number of work permits for non-EU truck drivers.

The government will end a quota of truck drivers from countries outside the European Economic Area (EEA).

Corn Eugène Drennan said The hard shoulder this is only the first step in the process.

“It fails in a couple of places. I don’t want to belittle the minister because it is a proactive step, but it is the first step in a process.

“And he has to take a step closer to level a bit, and the Department of Transportation has to come behind as well.

“And they say they had a great transport connection, but it’s not visible there.”

He says the number of countries that can exchange their license for a heavy vehicle license, and not have to retest, is quite limited.

“There are only five countries that it is available for, and there are certainly three that will never bother to come here for the most part.”

He says this option is open to countries like UK, Canada, South Africa and South Korea.

But he says any discussion of getting enough drivers in time for Christmas seems unlikely, given the cumbersome process of hiring people overseas.

“First and foremost you have to advertise for four weeks that you intend to do this, in case someone in Ireland wants the job.

“Then the applicant applies here, comes here.

“Even though he came with him and got a verified version of what would be like a Garda check here… he has to go to the Department of Transportation to fire him to get a cop [sic] over there to say ‘Yes, it’s ours’.

“Then they have to apply to the Ministry of Enterprise and Employment, then they come back to Transport again and they apply for their permit.

“And only when they exchange [their] license, can they apply for the DIGI card – which you have to drive here, and they have to update themselves with their CPCs.

“And then if they go to UK can they only apply for the UK driving license or wherever they go.”

He says the process can take up to 16 weeks, which means it could be next March before the issue is resolved.

Why plans to remove quotas for non-EEA truck drivers cannot save Christmas

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Main Image: Truck drivers in the cabs of articulated trailer vehicles on a motorway in England in August 2019. Photo by: Justin Kase zsixz / Alamy Stock Photo


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