The European Union’s proposed fourth driving licence directive could provide “a revised definition of tractors”, the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications has confirmed.

Although the EU’s fourth driving licence directive may be adopted by the end of this year, it will be the next European Parliament that will decide exactly what the new draft law will set out.

Until the new driving licence directive is approved and enacted, Minister Ryan said the existing approach to tractor licensing in Ireland will “continue to be applied”.

In response to a number of parliamentary questions raised on the issue the minister outlined that the Road Safety Authority (RSA) and his department “have no plans to change the licensing rules regarding tractors” and that category W will continue to cover “work vehicles and land tractors”.


Earlier this month there was an outcry when the RSA temporarily changed the text regarding W licences and redefined where they could be used, it detailed that:

“A Category W in Ireland should only be used for agricultural or forestry work, anyone driving commercially e.g., carrying stone/blocks, they must have a Category CE or C1E and also undertake CPC training to drive professionally.”

Farm organisations and contractors immediately warned that any changes to the tractor driver licence category would have a “significant impact” on many agricultural contractors.

The Association of Farm and Forestry Contractors in Ireland (FCI) had also cautioned that it would be a “direct attack on the rural-based agricultural contractor sector in Ireland”.

The Irish Farmers’ Association also highlighted that many farmers also have agricultural contracting businesses.


However the updated text was subsequently removed by the RSA and Minister Ryan has acknowledged that the text “may have caused unintentional confusion”.

He hopes that the publication of the new licence directive by the EU will provide clarification.

Minister Ryan added: “That will provide us with the best opportunity to realign or modernise the W licence category in whatever way we want.

“Once the new driving licence directive has been published, my department and the RSA will consult with stakeholders in advance of the introduction of any required changes to relevant national legislation.

“However, until the new driving licence directive is approved and enacted, the existing approach to tractor licensing will continue to be applied.”