The Irish Road Haulage Association (IRHA) is calling on government to simplify the rules pertaining to recruiting drivers from abroad, as the driver shortage deepens across the country.
The issue was raised at the recent IRHA Annual Conference in Killarney, which saw Laois-based Ger Hyland, installed as the association’s President.
Speaking to RTE.ie Mr Hyland said his haulage business is fully-staffed but if drivers were to leave or go sick, it would be a “struggle” to replace them. “I don’t have the pool of drivers I used to have,” he said.
Mr Hyland pointed out that every haulier in the country is struggling to retain drivers.
He said. “Our demographic of our employees is somewhere around 57 to 60 years of age… We will have an exodus from the industry in the next three to four years and we have no replacements, and it is going to affect the supply chain.”
“We’re actively out there trying to recruit drivers from foreign fields and we need a liberalisation of the bureaucratic paperwork to get this to happen.”
He said the main delays are around license recognition and work permits. “That needs to be speeded up and that needs to be worked on a matter of urgency.”
Georgia is one example of a country where they could recruit drivers on an accelerated basis, he said.
“There is a number of drivers out there ready to come to Ireland, looking to come to Ireland, but we need license recognition from the Government and help from the Government to expedite this.”