Push to steer tractors away from test loop

JJ Manton, Dartfield, Kilreekil, doing his fodder rounds on the tractor with his dog occupying the passenger seat on the tractor. PHOTOS: HANY MARZOUK.
JJ Manton, Dartfield, Kilreekil, doing his fodder rounds on the tractor with his dog occupying the passenger seat on the tractor. PHOTOS: HANY MARZOUK.

THE commitment from the Dept. of Transport to re-enter into a full consultation process on ‘NCT type’ testing of tractors must exempt the agricultural sector from a ‘confusing, unnecessary and expensive’ layer of bureaucracy, the IFA have said this week.

Galway IFA Chairman, Pat Murphy, said that the farming and agricultural sector had a duty like every other road user to have their tractors in proper roadworthy order, but added that it was ‘a complete nonsense’ to add on another layer of testing on top of that.

“We have no bother at all in saying that any farmer or contractor using the public roadways must have their tractors and machinery in proper roadworthy fashion with such things as lights and brakes in working order.

“We also accept that quite separately from agriculture, there is a commercial usage of so-called fast tractors by haulage companies, and in those instances, testing may be appropriate, but not in the farming sector,” said Pat Murphy.

East Galway Independent TD, Seán Canney, this week welcomed the decision by Transport Minister, Shane Ross, ‘to direct his officials to review [the proposed new regulations] as a matter of urgency and to ensure that the regulations are not put into effect in advance of the review’.

The latest development in the tractor testing controversy came after a meeting last week between an IFA delegation led by President, Joe Healy, with the Dept. of Transport.

Following the meeting, IFA President Joe Healy said there was now an acceptance that the consultation process promised to IFA will now take place in full with all aspects of the proposals on the table.

“We will now get down to negotiations with the Minister and the Department to ensure that normal farming activities are excluded from tractor testing. We expect all tractors used for farming and for bringing farm produce and raw materials to and from the point of sale will not be subject to testing,” said Joe Healy.