‘Law needs to change to allow self-driving vehicles on roads’


Self-driving vehicles and remote work were for some of the proposals discussed by Cabinet for a future job strategy.

Transport Minister Shane Ross said the law needed to be changed in order to allow the trial of self-driving driven cars on Irish roads.

The safety of road users and the general public would be a priority in any plans going forward, he said. Business Minister Heather Humphreys outlined plans to examine remote working, as part of opportunities for the public service.

These will include staff with agencies working out of remote work hubs and such changes would become a reality with better broadband, she explained

The government also discussed the radical reduction in unemployment figures which have fallen by more than two thirds since a high of 15% in 2012.

On top of new sectors and ways of working that will be examined under the jobs strategy, the government hope to encourage people to return to work, particularly women and anyone in their 50s.

Outlining some of the aims, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, visiting Trim, with the Cabinet said:

The biggest risk of course, when the economy is strong and incomes are rising and the jobs market is going well, is the risk of complacency. Domestically, there are now some constraints that are really evident.

“A lot of employers are finding it hard to get staff. This is leading to wage pressures. And the response must be to increase labor market participation.

“There are a lot of people who aren’t on social welfare but could work if we help to remove some of the barriers for work they. So, for parents the cost of childcare is very expensive, and the cost of commuting and so on.

“Older women who left the workforce to care who have difficulty getting back into it. Man who lose their jobs in their 50s and often have difficulty then finding a job, and also people with disabilities and people who suffer from intergenerational unemployment.”

Meanwhile, Mr Varadkar said he thought there needed to be an overhaul of the Dail’s expenses regime. His comments come after the controversy involving Dara Murphy, a double-jobbing Fine Gael TD who resigned this week and now will work as an advisor in Brussels for the EU.

He said: “I do think we need to overhaul the expenses regime in the Dáil. But I think we’ve seen from this issue and issues relating to other deputies, that it’s too easy to get around it and too lax.

“It’s something Minister [Paschal] Donohoe and I spoke about today and we’re examining what we can do about this next week.”

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