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Hefty fine for Northern Ireland company caught breaching EU regulations in Donegal

The company was ordered to pay €8,500 in mitigated fines

Bid to resume land auctions - Gavel to be dusted off as 17 acres in County Limerick comes to market

The company was fined on seven counts of breaching the EU regulations at a Donegal roadworks site

A Northern Ireland company has been fined €8,500 for breach of EU regulations while operating at a roadworks site in Donegal.

The offences related to the number of times there were entitled to load and unload without having to leave the state. 

Calbro Construction (NI) Limited was before Donegal District Court on Monday. The company entered guilty pleas to seven charges of carrying out in excess of three permitted cabotage operations. The offences were detected during inspections at Dunkineely on October 30, 2019; February 4, 2020 and August 18, 2020. The breaches were contrary to Regulation 3(2) of the European Union (International Road Haulage Market) Regulations 2011 (S.I. 698 of 2011).

An inspector for the Road Safety Authority (RSA) explained the offence. 

“When an out-of-state licenced haulier enters the state and unloads, they are entitled to carry out no more than three operations within seven days,” he said. 

“Once the third load has been emptied they are not permitted to carry out any more operations within the state. They may leave the state and enter again. 

“On the dates in question, the vehicles were in continuous operation carrying up to 11 loads a day from the quarry in Killybegs to the roadworks in Dunkineely.

“The vehicles were remaining on site for a week or more.They never left the state. “

He added that it was a requirement on any out-of-state haulier that they could produce clear evidence of when they came into the state, what they carried, and any cabotage after that.

State solicitor Ciaran Liddy told the court that officers had initially flagged the issue in October 2019. 

“At two further inspections in February and August, it was ongoing,” he said.

Defence solicitor Eunan Gallagher said that when the company initially had a UK haulier’s licence. 

“Subsequent to the detection in October they applied for a haulier’s licence in the Republic of Ireland,” said Mr Gallagher. 

“The application was made in October 2019. The licence didn’t issue until June 2020.

“The principal of the company was under the mistaken view that having a licence in the Republic of Ireland meant that he could still continue to deliver the site. But having UK registered vehicles didn’t comply.

“There was nothing cloak and dagger about this. It was on a public road.” 

Judge Kevin Kilrane pointed out that the company had tendered for the job and should have been aware of the regulations.

“I am fully satisfied that the defendant was aware from the start and remained aware,” said the judge. 

“It was cheaper to continue to offend than to stop. 

“When told what they were at was illegal, they decided it was cheaper to motor on.

“The rules are created so that trading is not distorted within member states.”

Mr Liddy told the court that the defendant had no previous convictions.

He said that the maximum fine was €5,000 per offence. 

Mr Gallagher appealed to the judge to use his discretion and to reduce the fines, saying the company was a small transport operation. He added that everybody involved had cooperated fully with the RSA.

Judge Kilrane said that total fines on the seven charges would come to €35,000.

“Mitigation will apply,” he said, reducing the total fines to €8,500. 

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