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Irish driver shortage reaching crunch-point, warns FTAI

[ July 9, 2021   //   ]

Irish hauliers need government support to recruit new HGV drivers before the country’s supply chain starts to break down, says FTA Ireland (FTAI).   General manager Aidan Flynn warns that, with the industry already suffering a shortage of, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has seen a high turnover of driving staff that could have a devastating impact on the country’s economy if not addressed now.

He said: “While the freight and logistics sector has kept the nation stocked during the pandemic, not all sectors which use HGV drivers have been operational and many have either returned to work in eastern Europe or have switched to jobs in other sectors.  This is creating unsustainable recruitment problems for a sector on which all areas of our economy relies, and an ever-decreasing pool of workers means that gaps will soon start to appear in our supply chain.”

FTAI has written to the Road Safety Authority and the Department of Transport seeking interventions to reduce the pressure on commercial fleet operators. Mr Flynn says there are many fully licenced drivers who could fill the gaps in the short term, but cannot do so because they do not have an in date Driver CPC card, which is required for drivers to work professionally.

He explained: “To ease the skills shortage, FTA is asking government to provide a temporary derogation to attract these drivers back into temporary employment and allow them drive for hire and reward while they are waiting to refresh their professional driver training qualification – the CPC. This would be great help to our members and industry where some employees have full licences, but they do not have an up to date driver card.”

Meanwhile there are reports of waits of over 50 weeks to complete truck driving tests.

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