The restrictions on tractor and work vehicle licences have been reversed.

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) confirmed on Thursday that, with immediate effect, category W licences now cover the operation of tractors and other work vehicles for all uses.

The about-turn follows from Wednesday's revelation by the Irish Farmers Journal that tractor drivers on construction sites had been told that W licences only covered drivers of tractors and other work vehicles for agricultural purposes and that a C or C1 licence was required for non-agricultural tractor use.

The National Drivers Licence Service (NDLS) website has been changed to reflect this reversal.


Previously, the following had been added: "A Category W in Ireland should only be used for agricultural or forestry work, anyone driving commercially eg carrying stone/blocks etc for construction work etc then they must have a Category CE or C1E and also undertake CPC training to drive professionally."

This has now been removed from the NDLS website.

Instead, the following now appears: "In relation to Category W licence, the RSA will review the position and requirements of the holders of category W with the Department of Transport in line with the fourth driving licence directive which is expected to be published in September."

An RSA spokesperson confirmed there will be a public consultation process as part of this review.


The Association of Farm Contractors in Ireland (FCI), in welcoming the reversal back to previous guidelines, wants answers as to how the restriction that saw tractor drivers removed from construction sites was introduced with no consultation and without stakeholders being informed, whether directly or through a press statement.

"We feel that it is unacceptable that Government agencies such as the NDLS and RSA have the power to make changes to the rules with regard to driver licence categories without prior consultation among the relevant and impacted stakeholders,” said FCI chair John Hughes.