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Hauliers should not be dragged into humanitarian crisis – Ellis

19 August, 2015 - by Dessie Ellis TD

Sinn Féin Transport spokesperson Dessie Ellis TD has called on the European Union to work to resolve the humanitarian crisis at Calais. He has also asked that the states involved avoid drawing hauliers into the issue and to install protective measures so that they can continue their work as normal.

Deputy Ellis who sits on the Oireachtas Transport Committee also called for an easing of restrictions to hauliers to avoid drawing them into a crisis which has nothing to do with them.

Deputy Ellis continued

“Right now, we have Irish hauliers being drawn into a humanitarian crisis in Calais. These drivers are simply trying to do their job in transporting goods across Europe. They have no impact on the EU response to the rising numbers of refugees at these borders or the ongoing crisis in the Mediterranean. This crisis demands an urgent, collective response from Britain, France, and the EU.

“Sinn Féin believes a humane approach must be taken to those seeking refuge in Europe, one which recognises our international responsibilities. The crisis should not fall on the backs on ordinary workers trying to do their jobs like these hauliers, and they should not be used as political pawns either.

“Restrictions which put hauliers and those seeking refuge into direct conflict should be eased immediately. Hauliers who are found to have someone on their vehicle trying to cross a border can receive huge fines, which threatens their livelihood and job. This has led to hauliers being drawn into the issue further as they have been made responsible for ensuring no person hides on their vehicle. In some cases this has led to direct and volatile confrontation with hauliers and refugees.

“Of course, illegal traffickers who endanger lives must be tackled, but hauliers should not be made to pay the price for the failure of the EU to deal with the crisis.” 

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