Tuesday, 2 July 1974
Dáil Eireann Debate
Mr. O.J. Flanagan: asked the Minister for Local Government whether the Border between the Six Counties and the Republic is regarded as an international frontier for the purposes of the EEC regulations on transport which have been drafted or which are proposed.
Mr. O.J. Flanagan: asked the Minister for Local Government the nature of the regulations his Department intended to introduce governing international transport which have been the subject of criticism from the EEC Commission; and if he will explain the grounds for and the character of that criticism and his intended response to it.
I take it that the EEC regulation to which the Deputy refers is Regulation 543/69 which prescribes conditions for the crewing of heavy goods and large passenger vehicles. My Department are concerned with the provisions of Article 5 of this regulation which prescribes minimum ages and qualifications for the drivers of such vehicles.
Under the Treaty of Accession it was provided that the regulation would apply to Ireland as from 1st April, 1973, in respect of international transport and as from 1st January, 1976, in respect of national transport. It is necessary to make implementing domestic regulations here to apply the EEC regulation and a draft of such in respect of my area of responsibility was sent to the Commission in April, 1973. The draft regulations would make it an offence subject to penalties to fail to comply with the EEC conditions while engaged in international transport. The Commission have raised certain  points in regard to the draft regulations. They question the level of penalties and have suggested that one set of regulations should cover the requirements of my Department and of the Department of Labour.
Furthermore at an early stage in the consultation with officials of the Commission the interpretation of the application of the draft regulations was discussed and at that time the Commission officials did not object to an interpretation of it which would mean that an “international journey” begins at the frontier and not within the State. On reconsideration the Commission do not now accept this interpretation. The Commission's observations will be considered in consultation with the other Ministers concerned.
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