FTA Ireland has strongly criticised the District Court for not taking the issue of illegal haulage seriously enough. The Association has accused the Courts of ignoring the gravity of offences in certain cases brought before it.
FTAI referred to recently recorded prosecutions taken in the District Court against operators for illegal haulage, published by the Road Safety Authority, and is now calling on Minister Donohoe to tackle illegal haulage in the Transport Bill 2015.
Neil McDonnell – FTA General Manager stated: “It is difficult to see how Gardai and RSA enforcement officers can prioritise haulage enforcement when the Courts do not treat these offences seriously. FTA Ireland knows that the Gardai and the RSA are working extremely hard, and with limited resources, to tackle illegal haulage. It is therefore truly frustrating to see the District Court awarding fines as low as €350 for this offence, which EU Regulation 1071/2009 lists as a “Most Serious Infringement” for road transport operators.”
FTA Ireland added that it is aware of several cases where distribution contracts with major clients have been won by operators with several convictions for illegal haulage; and referenced one particular case where forged documentation was used by the operator.
Mr McDonnell added: “Legitimate, licensed operators are being undercut, and are losing business and employment to these rogue operators. If the Courts Service continues to ignore the gravity of this offence, FTA Ireland urges the Transport Minister to remove the issue from the Courts Service altogether, and appoint a suitably qualified Transport Officer of first instance within the Department of Transport to handle these cases. The Transport Bill 2015 gives him an ideal opportunity to do so.”