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Overhaul in Tractor Driver Licensing Sparks Controversy and Job Concerns in Ireland

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Overhaul in Tractor Driver Licensing Sparks Controversy and Job Concerns in Ireland

Overhaul in Tractor Driver Licensing Sparks Controversy and Job Concerns in Ireland
March 07
09:52 2024

The recent modifications to the tractor driver licence category in Ireland, specifically the ‘W’ category, are causing a stir within the agricultural and contracting communities. The Association of Farm and Forestry Contractors in Ireland (FCI) warns that these changes will significantly impact many agricultural contractors, leading to potential job losses and disruptions in various sectors.

The FCI revealed that it received information this week about alterations to the ‘W’ driver’s licence category, which traditionally covers work vehicles other than land tractors. Under the new regulations, individuals engaged in commercial activities, such as transporting construction materials, must possess a Category CE or C1E licence. Additionally, these drivers must undergo the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (Driver CPC) training.

This shift has prompted concerns among agricultural contractors who occasionally undertake non-agricultural work. According to the FCI, some contractors have already been asked to leave work sites for failing to produce the required C or C1E licence and CPC certificate.

In a formal letter, the FCI sought clarification on when the changes to the W category licence were introduced, the reasons behind the amendments, and the legislative basis for these alterations. Notably, the FCI highlighted that the W licence is a national licence and falls outside the scope of the EU Driver Licence Directive.

Adding fuel to the fire, two independent TDs, Michael Fitzmaurice and Michael Healy-Rae have strongly criticized the Road Safety Authority (RSA) and the government, attributing the changes to causing chaos in the construction industry and the house-building sector. Both TDs argue that the new regulations place unnecessary burdens on workers and could potentially result in significant job losses, estimating figures of up to 3000 to 4000 people.

Fitzmaurice and Healy-Rae assert that these regulations pose a serious threat to various sectors, including housing, road projects, and civil works across the country. They urgently call for intervention from high-profile figures, including Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan, and Tánaiste Michael Martin.

Agriland has reached out to the RSA for comment. Still, as of now, the controversy surrounding the licensing changes continues to unfold, raising questions about the potential consequences for contractors and the broader industries affected.

Source: Agriland 

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