TRUCK OFF; New Laws to Keep Our Roads Free from Criminal Truckers

Article excerpt

Byline: COLM KELPIE

TRUCKERS with serious criminal records are to be stripped of haulage licences under tough rules unveiled yesterday.

From next month new regulations will ensure murderers, drug pushers, sex offenders and others convicted of serious offences in the past five years will be disqualified from driving lorries.

Speaking about the changes in law, Transport Minister Noel Dempsey said: "It is imperative that we maintain the highest possible standards in the road transport sector."

The legislation comes in the wake of the severe criticism of the outgoing rules after details of the Kieran Boylan case came to light

Boylan, the subject of a longrunning Garda Ombudsman inquiry, was sentenced to five years in jail in 2006 for drug trafficking but was later awarded an operator's licence.

A Government probe into the controversy, carried out by a former top civil servant, found Department of Transport officials had been aware of Boylan's criminal record when issuing the licence. Mr Dempsey said the report raised questions about whether Ireland had been complying with EU law on trucker licences.

He added: "The Department sought and received legal advice on the issue and it is for this reason that I am today announcing new legislation for the sector. …