Irish lorry drivers travelling to France from tomorrow onwards are being urged to book Covid-19 antigen tests before their journey.
Under new legislation introduced by the French government, any heavy goods vehicle (HGV) entering the country must have received a negative Covid-19 test result with 72 hours of arrival.
The legislation comes into effect on Thursday night.
To facilitate this, two new dedicated antigen testing facilities will be opened – one at Dublin Port and another at Rosslare Europort.
Department of Transport and Irish healthcare company RocDoc announced the opening of the centres on Thursday morning.
Tests will be free, and results will be made available within 60 minutes. Anyone who wishes to book a test can do so online.
Two initial testing facilities were also opened on Thursday – one at Dublin Airport’s Blue long-haul car park, and another at the Circle K Motorway Service Area on Wexford’s M11.
An additional site for Roasslare-bound traffic is expected to open over the coming days.
Speaking this afternoon, RocDoc chief executive David Rock said his firm and the Department of Transport had been working towards opening the facilities since the French Government signalled the new requirement last week.
"Our priority is to provide a highly efficient service to ensure that hauliers can quickly and safely through our testing facilities and minimise any disruption to their journeys," he said.
However, the Irish Road Hauliers Association (IRHA) has warned the Government’s failure to get the facilities up and running in time is already causing major disruption at Irish ports.
Speaking onthis morning, IRHA chief executive Eugene Drennan said the centres should have been opened long before the new rules were introduced.
“We are not happy with the reaction.
“It was a slow reaction to an unfolding issue,” he said.
Mr Drennan said Irish hauliers were "bearing the brunt of it", and that delays were creating a lot of expense to hauliers.
- Any Irish HGV drivers who the legislation affects is asked to bring proof of their ferry booking to the testing sites.
- Photographic identification and a digital tachograph card are also required.
- More information can be found on RocDoc's website.