Irish Road Haulage Association President Jimmy Quinn is temporarily stepping aside from his position, following last night's Prime Time Investigates programme into the haulage industry.

In a statement issued today, the IRHA said Mr Quinn had ‘figured briefly in the programme’ and was now in the process of lodging a libel complaint against RTÉ.

He had decided to step aside from his role until that complaint was dealt with.

Responding to the IRHA statement, RTÉ's Prime Time said: 'At this point, RTÉ has not received any communication from Mr Quinn and therefore cannot comment on the matter. Prime Time fully stands over the programme and its content.'

Watch Prime Time Investigates: Slave Labour Ireland

Mr Quinn's role will be undertaken by IRHA Vice President Liam Brewer.

‘The IRHA will not condone any law-breaking on the part of its members, and will not support action which endanger public safety,’ said Mr Brewer.

‘As an association, we're committed to bringing our industry to the highest levels of professionalism and responsibility.’

The association said that it planned to do a ‘line by line investigation’ of accusations made in the programme against three named haulage companies.

It said it had repeatedly brought problems likely to lead to flouting of the regulations to the attention of the authorities.

The IRHA has complained to the authorities about the failure to police illegal operators and about the fact that no haulier found to have repeatedly broken the law has ever lost their licence.

It investigations into the operations of its member companies would begin immediately, the association said.