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Hauliers' Tips: Driving in the Republic of Ireland

For hauliers transporting cargo and picking up return loads from the Republic of Ireland, this guide to driving may be of great help.

For the long distance lorry driver, being able to adapt to the road rules, regulations and legislation of different countries is an essential part of working cross border haulage jobs. It might be tempting to think that a road is a road is a road, and that taking haulage work in a foreign country is just a matter of moving over to the other side (or not), organising some return loads to make the trip worthwhile and getting on with it. But taking the time to get familiar with the nuances of driving HGVs in the country you intend visiting could mean the difference between a successful trip or one that you'll remember for all the wrong reasons. 

If you're taking cargo and picking up return loads from the Republic of Ireland, the following information will give you a good grounding and help you to be sure… to be sure.

***While Northern Ireland is part of the UK, the Republic of Ireland is a member of the European Eurozone.

Requirements for Driving in the Republic of Ireland

Security is your first consideration and you'll need to ensure you're carrying the appropriate documentation for both yourself and the vehicle. For you as the driver, this includes:

  • Valid passport
  • HGV and regular driving licence
  • A letter of authority to be in charge of the vehicle
  • If the lorry is over 3.5 tonnes you'll need your driving hours and records
  • Driver attestation if you're a non-EU driver and it is an EU registered vehicle

In addition, make sure you have the following documentation for the vehicle:

  • Original registration documents
  • Insurance certificate
  • Nationality plate
  • Temporary importation permit (from customs)

Taxes and Tolls

While if you're driving a foreign registered lorry you won't be liable for transit taxes in the Republic of Ireland, many of the motorways and tunnels incur tolls. These include the Dublin Port Tunnel and the M1, M3, M50 – among others. There's also a toll payable on the Dundalk Bypass. Some road tolls can only be paid electronically on the e-flow system; detailed information on all the charges and tolls can be found at

Speed Limits

As with every other country, there's a range of speed limits depending on the size/weight of the vehicle and the kind of road. These limits are stringently enforced by the use of radar trapping – so if you're considering speeding to pick up one of those lucrative return loads, just don’t. You will get caught. The following restrictions are in place:

  • Built up areas: 50km/h
  • Motorways, 2-lane regional roads, national roads: 80-120km/h depending on area
  • No HGVs are permitted to travel in the outside lane of a motorway

Restrictions on Vehicles

In terms of carrying dangerous/toxic cargo you're governed by complex legislation, so it's important you do your own research by contacting the National Authority for Occupational Safety and Health (ph: 00 353 1 662 0400).

The 4.65m height restrictions in place are actually higher than in Europe, which is 4m. For vehicles over 4.65m or those longer than 18.75m long, 44 tonnes in weight and 2.55m wide, an authorisation permit is required from the local authorities.

Restrictions on Driving

The main driving restrictions involve deliveries into the centre of Dublin, when commercial deliveries are not allowed between 07-10.00 and 12.30-19.00, except into designated loading docks. Permits (available online at are required for vehicles of five axles or more delivering into the centre of the city.

Use of Mobile Phones

Drivers are not permitted to use mobile phones while driving unless they're set to hands-free. Large fines apply.

The Final Word

It should be noted that this article is a broad overview of driving in the Republic of Ireland and it's important to do your own up-to-the-minute research concerning tollsFind Article, permits and new legislation. Comprehensive information can be found at the Irish Road Haulage Association:


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Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Connecting logistics professionals across the UK and Europe through their website, Haulage Exchange provides services for matching loads and return loads with available drivers. Over 4,000 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.


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