27 Jun 2022

Regulation has gone too far, says Longford judge critical of RSA rules

Judge Seamus Hughes

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) has come under fire over claims that ever increasing levels of bureacracy are making it more difficult for hauliers to make a living.

Judge Seamus Hughes took aim at the state agency during a prosecution taken by it against an Armagh man who had allegedly failed to keep community licence certificate in his vehicle during an incident at Toneywarden, N55 on October 6, 2017.

Shane Lappin, of 27 Armagh Breague Road, Tassagh, Armagh was charged as a result.

Asked as to what a community licence entailed, Judge Hughes was informed the document was effectively a European licence which allowed its holder to engage in the international carriage of goods for hire.

Taking umbrage at confirmation a community licence was a supplementary certificate to that of a driving licence, Judge Hughes warned of the rising tide of administration being rolled out by state bodies like the RSA.

“You are from the RSA and yet there is more and more regulation and more and more burden is being imposed at the behest of the RSA so that ye have more and more work to do,” he told the RSA official sitting in court, as he gave evidence of the incident which took place in Longford almost 18 months ago.

“Before you know it, you are now cajoling the minister on speed limits for cars and he has launched a new campaign recently about that. It’s more and more regulation all the time.”

The Mayo-born judge accused the RSA of “overstepping their powers”, citing escalating governance as a reason for Britain's impending exit from the European Union.

“It’s more and more regulation all the time and Britain are getting out of Europe because of regulation. The fact they are getting out it is going to cause us more trouble.”

Judge Hughes lamented how rigid licensing and legislative requirements were similarly making it more onerous on ambitious entrepreneurs in their attempts to set up new enterprises.

“If you want to go out and start a burger stand on the Market Square, you are chased down with trading laws, health and safety. There are regulations everywhere you go.”

After making those comments, Judge Hughes said he would be sparing Mr Lappin a criminal conviction in this instance and, as such, issued him with Section 1 (1) of the Probation Act.

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