Member of the European Affairs Committee and Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Transport Timmy Dooley will travel to France to tomorrow to examine the impact of the migrant crisis.

Deputy Dooley will travel with representatives of the Irish Road Haulage Association including former President Eoin Gavin.

Speaking before travelling to France, Deputy Dooley commented: “Europe is in the grips of the largest humanitarian crisis we’ve witnessed in decades, which is being fuelled by war and unrest in countries across the Middle East and North Africa.  This is posing a major challenge for Europe on a humanitarian and economic level.  Much more needs to be done by the EU address the crisis in a compassionate way but there are measures the Irish government can also implement to ease pressure on hauliers trying to move through the port of Calais.

“The impact on Ireland is serious.  Hauliers have having real difficulty processing their trucks and getting their goods through the port in Calais with desperate migrants going to extraordinary lengths to try to get through the crossing. I will be travelling to France with the Irish Road Haulage Association tomorrow to meet drivers in Calais and assess the impact the crisis is having.

“The Minister for Transport should be taking steps to ease pressure on hauliers.  The British government has already moved to ease the impact of Article 14 of EU Regulation 561 which governs the tachograph rules, this is the internal system recording hauliers’ driving time.  As a result of the migrant crisis drivers are required to stay at the wheel for longer.  This would allow drivers to go beyond the current limits on driving time in order to safely park-up and store their trailers.

“I am urging Minister Paschal Donohoe to act on this as a matter of priority.  I am also urging the Minister to arrange a bilateral meeting with the British government to discuss the unfortunate criminalising and fining of hauliers whose trucks are found to have migrants illegally passing into the UK.  The government should also be pressing the case for a more comprehensive solution to the crisis at EU level.  While addressing the economic impact on our own country we must remember the plight of the people who have fled war, famine, violence and poverty in the hope of a better life in Europe.  The EU needs a comprehensive and compassionate strategy to the migrant crisis.”