The RTITB Operator of the Year Irish National Final took place recently on Wednesday 18th May; the event was hosted by Daralinn Training Ltd in Blanchardstown, Dublin.

The competitors took part in two practical tests (The BBC and The Platinum Ring), a pre use check and a theory test, and they were marked on a “penalties” basis, the competitor with the lowest number of penalties after all finalists had completed the tests was crowned Irish National Champion.

The event was attended by employers, accredited organisations, instructors and the general public all of whom expressed that they had thoroughly enjoyed the day. Entertainment was provided alongside the testing for all attendees. There was a caricature artist there for all visitors to take away a special memento of the day, and a Nintendo Wii competition to which a prize was presented for the fastest lap.

The day concluded with the announcement of the Irish National Champion by HAS representative Ronan Kilgallon, who gave a very informative speech about Health and Safety in the workplace before congratulating all of the competitors, employers and training organisations that were present on the day and represented the industry so well.

Samuel Miller from Ballymena was crowned as the Irish National Champion. Samuel is employed by Wright Buses and was trained by Woodhill Training Services. He received a red Buyagift voucher and a trophy sponsored by Toyota Material Handling UK, he will also go forward to the Grand Final on Friday 16th September where he will compete for the chance to be RTITB Operator of the Year 2011.

Samuel was delighted by the result; when presented with his award, he expressed how much he enjoyed the day “it was very well organised and enjoyable and useful for my development with health and safety practice when working with fork lift trucks.” He also said “It was a challenging and fun experience that is very relevant to my job I’m really looking forward to the Grand Final – and hoping to do well”

The 1st runner up on the day was announced as Brendan Meagher, from Portarlington: County Laois, who is employed by Glanbia Plc, and was trained by Jungheinrich. “The day was very entertaining. I was nervous at first but nerves calmed down after first test and I settled down.” He received an orange Buyagift voucher and will also go through to the grand final. “I had an enjoyable day it was a great experience and I’m looking forward to grand final. I’d like to say I want to win but I don’t want to jinx it.” His hard work paid off but he thanked his trainers Jungheinrich for getting him there: “I would also like to thank my training organisation Jungheinrich – for the help they gave me preparing for the final.”

The 2nd runner up was Seamus Day who was trained by the hosts of the event Daralinn Training; he received a jade Buyagift voucher. All competitors were given certificates on the day to highlight there achievement of getting through to the National Final stage.

The RTITB Operator of the Year 2011 is sponsored by Toyota Material Handling UK and TNT Express Services UK and Ireland.

The trucks that were used in the finalist testing were supplied by Toyota Material Handling UK and were Toyota 7FBMF electric powered counterbalance trucks, with a 3 ton lift capacity and a 4.3m FSV mast.

The logistics for the event were supplied by TNT Express Services UK & Ireland and was driven by their Fleet Driver of the Year.

The remaining National Finals take place as follows;

1st June 2011 – Welsh National Final

15th June 2011 – Midlands & Southern England National Final

The National Finals are open to the public; however attendance (via should be registered in advance as places are limited.

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