By Dan Walsh
Wexford Independent TD Verona Murphy and former IRHA President has warned that government action is needed immediately to prevent truck drivers from being stranded for Christmas, as transport chaos erupts.
When asked by Claire Byrne on RTE Radio this morning if she believed drivers could be stuck in their cabs for Christmas Day, Deputy Murphy replied; “Yes of course I am, we don’t have the capacity. Our last ferry is scheduled for Wednesday. If we only have capacity for 90 trucks and we need capacity for 400, well then they are going to be either sitting in a Port or on the side of the road.”
Speaking afterwards Deputy Murphy warned; “We will have rotting produce, stranded drivers and increased costs to farmers and producers, unless the Government sends all available ferries to get food produce onto the shelves and drivers home to their families for Christmas.”
Deputy Murphy blasted Irish Government inaction, and Minister Simon Coveney for claiming there was sufficient ferry capacity, “He has no idea it would appear, there are 200 trucks stranded in the UK, there are another 200-300 heading for Cherbourg, as well as another 200 trying to leave Ireland to take produce to the continent. I have three factories here in the South East with €1 million worth of meat product and they can’t get bookings on ferries.”
Deputy Murphy also said that she had be inundated with phone calls and concerns from drivers and hauliers. “Last night I spoke to the Taoiseach, the Tánaiste and the Minister for Transport, and it just takes a coordinated effort to get this working.”
According to Deputy Murphy the problem stems from the IMDO report claiming there were no capacity issues from Ireland to Mainland Europe.
“This is something that the IMDO report is false on. I have flagged it for months in the Dail. Minister Naughten, Minister Troy, the Tánaiste and the Taoiseach all refuted what I said. This day of reckoning was coming.”