Members of the Irish Road Haulage Association have tonight staged a protest at Foynes Port in an effort to highlight what they claim is illegal haulage activity at the Co Limerick site.

Around 12 trucks are this evening blocking out-of-State hauliers at the port.

According to IRHA President Eoin Gavin, operators from the Netherlands, Scotland and Northern Ireland, have been hired to haul wind turbines to wind farms in the Munster region.

"We have about 12 trucks here now and we are not going to let any of these out-of-State operators out of here tonight. We will be here until midnight at least," he said.

A spokesman for Foynes Shannon Port Company declined to comment on the situation as he said it was a matter for the relevant enforcement agencies.

The company expressed its hope, however, that the matter would be resolved between the relevant authorities and the hauliers.

Earlier today the IRHA issued a statement calling on the relevant enforcement agencies to act and eradicate the alleged haulage activity which they say has been ongoing for the past number of weeks around the Foynes area of Limerick.

Despite numerous occasions where the association has informed the Gardaí and RSA of this alleged illegal activity, nothing has been done to protect the licensed haulage operator in the region, the group claims.

Mr Gavin said: "I am aware of a number of local haulage operators in the Limerick area who have been forced to put their drivers on notice as haulage work is being undertaken by out-of-State operators.

"It begs the question that if the Government of today are not prepared to defend the licensed haulage sector in Ireland, where is the value and benefit in holding a road haulage operator's licence?"