DOZENS of transport and road haulage jobs are under threat across Tipperary, following the announcement this week that one of the country’s main haulage companies is to cease trading.
Target Express (Ireland), the freight company, is to cease trading with the loss of 400 jobs, some of those including employees of the company in Tipperary. Target Express had previously rented out a premises for use as a depot near Thurles from Germinal Seeds, a firm based at the Horse and Jockey. Sales and Production Manager of Germinal Seeds, Jim Gibbons, said Target Express had stopped renting the premises from them some months back, and expressed sympathy for all Target’s employees who may have lost their jobs this week. Mr Gibbons said they had enjoyed a good working relationship with Target Express.
Owned by businessman Seamus McBrien, Target Express operates under the trading name College Freight Ltd in the Republic. That company has been unable to pay its staff since the Revenue Commissioners placed attachments on the company’s bank accounts last week. It’s expected some of the Tipperary staff of the company may join other staff protesting at a sit-in in Cork. The company was not available for comment to the Tipperary Star regarding the number of jobs lost in Tipperary, at the time of going to press.
However, the haulage firm is not the only one suffering the effects of the economic downturn and increasing fuel prices. Brendan O’Dwyer of Ballymureen Transport, based in Littleton, Thurles, says the industry is on its knees, and unless something is done, many more Tipperary haulage firms will follow Target Express. Mr O’Dwyer told the Tipperary Star they feel very sorry for the workers and families involved. “The industry itself is under huge pressure regarding fuel prices, and other costs relating to tyres, and lubricants. It’s not just fuel only. The fuel effect kicks into all other aspects of our business.” Mr O’Dwyer said he was not pointing the finger of blame at any government agency or body, but the “industry is at a breaking point now.”
“As a transport company, we have up to 25 guys employees the road, and we’re doing our utmost to keep these guys on the road,” added Mr O’Dwyer. “We’re going to continue to strive to do that. Whatever help we get from the Road Haulage Association... we’d greet it with open arms.”
The Irish Road Haulage Association (IRHA) President President Eoin Gavin stated: “The industry is in dire straits at the present time. The price of diesel is rapidly increasing and the Government are very slow to react and prevent further closures of transport company’s and the loss of associated jobs”.
Mr Gavin added: “The current working environment is simply not sustainable for our members and we cannot and will not be able to maintain the current level of employment within the sector. There are 50,000 people, inclusive of ancillary jobs, employed within the industry and without the introduction of an Essential User Fuel Rebate (EUR) for tax compliant, licensed operators that level of employment will drop dramatically over the coming months. Government intervention is urgently required in order to continue to facilitate our export led economic recovery.”