Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Sunday 27 May 2018

Transport Minister sets the record straight on unaccompanied learner tractor drivers

Minister Ross dismissed suggestions that it would involve going into farmyards and seizing tractors
Minister Ross dismissed suggestions that it would involve going into farmyards and seizing tractors
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

Minister for Transport Shane Ross has hit out at what he called ‘ill informed and alarmist publicity’ about the legal situation involving tractors driven by unaccompanied drivers.

He dismissed suggestions that it would involve going into farmyards and seizing tractors if they were driven by unaccompanied learners.

“I would like to set the record straight and explain that the requirement for a learner to have an accompanying driver does not apply to tractors nor does road traffic law apply to farmyards or any other private land. It applies to public places.

“I trust in the farming community to know better than to be alarmed by this inaccurate publicity.

“I am glad to avail of this opportunity to put the truth on record,” he said in the Dail recently.

It came as Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on the Minister for Transport, Shane Ross, to immediately suspend proposals to increase the severity of penalties for unaccompanied L Plate drivers.

“This proposal is utterly disproportionate and will generate massive amounts of resentment in rural Ireland in particular.

“If Minister Ross is seriously suggesting a new regime whereby critical farm yard vehicles can be confiscated and the farmer can be jailed then he has truly gone off the deep end in terms of a detachment from rural life.

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“It is completely unworkable and has the potential to ruin farm and working families that are barely surviving as it is.

“For many rural TDs this smacks of yet another hair brained Cabinet initiative that reflects the absolute and increasing rural/urban divide at the heart of this government.

“Telling farmers that that they can potentially be jailed or that they will have their machinery seized for allowing a son or daughter to drive a tractor across the yard is incredible nonsense.

“What I am proposing is that we find a more proportionate and effective response to the critical and important issue of road safety that does not involve the excessive penalisation of one distinct element of the community, such as farmers and self employed people,” said Deputy McGrath.


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