Action urged over cabotage

Irish authorities have barely policed the cabotage legislation which has resulted in haulage contracts worth millions of euro being illegally awarded to foreign haulage firms who pay no taxes in Ireland.

Figures obtained from the Road Safety Authority, which is responsible for the enforcement of the legislation along with the gardaí, reveal that from 2012 to July 2013, only 78 vehicles were checked in Ireland and only a single breach of the regulations was uncovered.

In comparison, the UK department of transport made 43,408 checks in relation to cabotage legislation last year, with 310 offences detected.

The legislation allows every haulier to perform up to three deliveries, or cabotage, operations within a week, starting the day after the unloading of international cargo in the country of destination.

It was introduced by the EU to avoid an influx of drivers on lower wages flooding the EU markets.

A spokesperson for the Department of Transport said that it was monitoring the level of investigations carried out by the relevant authorities.

“The department monitors the level of enforcement in discussions with the RSA and the gardaí,” said the spokesperson. “A further meeting is intended for the near future. Clearly there are limitations on resources for enforcement given the current economic climate. But the department believes that everything that can reasonably be done, should be done within that context.”

The head of the Irish Road Haulage Association, Eoin Galvin, said he had been in meetings with Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar, who promised a clampdown on breaches of the law.

The issue came to light after a number of foreign hauliers were found to be operating out of Foynes port, forcing the IRHA to resort to a blockade, after local hauliers had to lay drivers off as the contracts was given to foreign firms.

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