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It's 1.5m miles and counting for John and his trusty DAF


John G Tarrant, who is the proprietor of Tarrant's Livestock in Rathcoole, is set to become a celebrity all over Europe in the coming weeks.

To celebrate the 90th anniversary of DAF Trucks, the parent company in Holland recently undertook a continent wide campaign to find the oldest working DAF truck, and through a Youtube clip discovered John, who has been delivering cattle to marts in his 1984 DAF 2100 for the past 34 years.

Kanturk Mart resembled a Hollywood movie set on Monday when a film crew from Eindhoven in the Netherlands, along with key personnel from DAF in Cork and Dublin, accompanied John from his home in Rathcoole with a load of cattle destined for the mart. 

Speaking to The Corkman, John said that the truck has almost one and a half million miles on the clock. "It never left me down, it's a very comfortable truck, as comfortable loaded as empty," he explained. 

"When I bought that truck my biggest problem was getting in and out of farmyards. There was a 27ft chassis and it had a very long wheelbase; and they cut 2ft off especially to suit me," he said.

34 years on, the 2100 is still 'on the road' five or six days every week. "It was well serviced by Jim O'Connor in Millstreet, I always got the genuine DAF parts and only one set of brakes went into it in 34 years," John added.


While John is now taking all the publicity in his stride, he said he was bemused when John O'Mahony of DAF Trucks Cork first called him. "I was actually just backing in here at the mart with a load of cattle and I was delighted when they asked me to be part of the 90th anniversary celebrations," he said.

John O'Mahony, who sold the truck to John on March 8, 1984, said it was a great testament to DAF that the truck is still working six days a week after 34 years. 

Conal McCourt, who is Operations Director of DAF Ireland, outlined how DAF in Holland were searching across Europe to find the oldest working truck in conjunction with the 90th anniversary of the company.

"John's is the first truck in Europe that has been acknowledged, any other truck  they find will have to beat that, and John and his DAF 2100 will be showcased across the continent," Conal said. 

Seamus O'Keeffe, manager of Kanturk Mart, said it was a privilege to have DAF use the mart to showcase John's story.

"The mart has been operating here for the past 59 years and John Tarrant has been a great supporter of ours over the last 43 years," Seamus said. "We congratulate him and thank Conal and John from DAF, and the film crew for visiting us this morning," he said. And for John Tarrant, who has been in business a total of 43 years, it's a case of 'keep on truckin' with his reliable old friend. the 1984 DAF 2100.

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