DI stands over its EU bus rules enforcement

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The Department of Infrastructure (DI) disputes Bready busman William Leonard’s claim that local school transport contracts awarded to Republic of Ireland firms in the North West are in breach of European Union ‘cabotage’ regulations.

Mr Leonard has expressed frustration over what he sees as non-enforcement.

Under EU law ‘cabotage operations’ are national road passenger services for hire and reward carried out on a temporary basis by a carrier in a host member state or the picking up and setting down of passengers within a host state.

A spokesperson for the DI, which is the successor organisation of the Department of the Environment (DoE), said: “The European Commission has not provided any official guidance on bus cabotage.

“In July 2011, as a result of concerns raised by NI bus operators about the extent of cabotage in the north-west by Irish bus operators, the former DOE began an investigation.

“In July 2013, following engagement with the Department for Transport in London, research into European Court of Justice case law and having met with Commission Officials, DOE published guidance for those seeking to procure or undertake bus cabotage operations”.

Last week the Sentinel reported how Mr Leonard was backing Brexit due to his frustration over what he perceived as the lack of enforcement of exiting EU regulations.

“Too much bureaucracy. Years to get anywhere, to try and get an answer from anybody, far too much red tape. “So you’re just adding all these other countries into your red tape instead of dealing with yourselves. Why? What’s the point?” he told the paper.