TWO Limerick councillors have welcomed the parking of a controversial proposal by Transport Minister Shane Ross to force farmers who drive their tractors more than 25km to submit them for NCTs.
Fine Gael councillor Adam Teskey and Fianna Fail councillor Kevin Sheahan, both representatives from the Adare-Rathkeale Municipal District, lobbied the Minister last March to express the district’s opposition to the introduction of NCT-type testing for tractors.
The regulation, which was due to come into effect next year, has attracted strong criticism from farming organisations who said that they were not fully engaged with during the consultative process.
However, the statutory instrument signed into law in September by Minister Ross must now be annulled in the Dáil. Councillors Teskey and Sheahan say that this will allow for proper consultation for all parties in relation to this issue.
“Following a Parliamentary Question to the Minister last March, the latest figures that the Road Safety Authority had were for 2014 when there were six fatal collisions on public roads involving a tractor, which was 3.4 per cent of all fatal collisions that year. Some of these collisions may not have been at the fault of the tractor driver,” Cllr Teskey suggested to the Limerick Post.
“The possible introduction of the use of white diesel for agricultural tractors with a speed rating of over 40kmh is worrying and is something that I will continue to lobby against.
“We cannot keep hitting the farmer who, in most cases, has an enterprise that would not continue to exist without supports like the Basic Payment. It is time that the farmers of County Limerick were listened to in Dublin and I will continue in my efforts to do just that,” he declared.
Cllr Kevin Sheahan, who seconded the motion, complimented the Irish Farmers Association for their persistence in having the policy reversed until adequate time has been availed of and “fair discussion” taken place.
“No decision should be made with regard to the NCT issue. The Minister for Transport has demonstrated his inability to deal properly with the farming community, which is a disappointment,” he said.
Both councillors insist they are committed to monitoring the progress of this issue as it evolves.
by Alan Jacques