Born and reared near the small village of Kilmore in Co. Wexford, Tom Cloney was always destined for a future behind the wheel.
The 24-year-old is the second-generation within the Cloney family to have been involved in the haulage sector, with his father, Martin or ‘Murt’, having worked behind the wheel for many years, a position he still holds to this day.
“My father drove for years and he is still driving away.” Tom explained to Kevin of That’sFarming.
“He was driving Crosbie Transcar for years. He was on the car transporter there,” he continued.
It was through his father’s career that Tom first developed a passion for the industry and trucks, having spent many days in the cab alongside his father. Interestingly enough, Martin took a step back from the industry in recent years and this coincided with Tom’s first foray into the sector.
“I got him back into it then.” said Tom.
The only experience Tom has from within the agricultural world came through work carried out for local farmers and a local contractor, as the Cloney family do not actually farm themselves.
“I used to work for a contractor and a couple of farmers in the locality for a while when I was younger.” Tom said.
Tom’s Journey -
For Tom, the dream to pursue a career as a ‘steering wheel assistant’ was one first developed in his younger years, after watching his father in action behind the wheel.
“I spent most of my time sitting beside him (Martin)”, said Tom.
“I nearly spent more time in the lorry than I did in school.” He laughed.
This is why following the cessation of his secondary education, Tom decided to get a job in order to save up for his licences. His first post outside of school only lasted a matter of months, however, before Tom soon followed in his father’s footsteps.
“I was young enough leaving school. I was just gone 17, so I went working for a cleaning company for a while.” He explained.
“I was only there a couple of months and then I got an apprenticeship with Crosbie’s in the garage, fixing trucks.” he added.
Before taking on the role with Crosbie’s, Tom had first obtained his licences aged 18, fulfilling a lifelong dream first developed in his early years. It wasn’t long after joining the team at Crosbie’s that Tom’s first driving role came along and the rest, as they say, is history.
“Nick Crosbie found out that I had the licence and that was the end of me serving my time then.” Tom chuckled.
Tom’s first role was in a rigid and drag transporting cars throughout the country, making him one of the country’s youngest car transporters at the time.
“I was definitely thrown in at the deep in.” Tom laughed.
Tom spent the next six months driving from the team at Crosbie’s, before he then departed to take on another role within the industry, this time driving the continent with B. Dillon Transport.
“I was with Crosbie’s for about six months until I was about 19 and then I went to Billy Dillon on the continent.” Tom noted.
“It was all fridge work, a bit of hanging and boxed beef,”
Although he thoroughly enjoyed the experience of working on the continent, Tom felt at the time he was missing out on a lot at home and he subsequently made the decision to return to work in Ireland.
“I wanted to be home at the weekends,” Tom told Kevin of That’sFarming.
“Then I came back and drove local for a little while before I got uneasy and went back on the continent again,” he added.
It was after this, that Tom then took on the role which he still holds to this day, with James Ormonde and the team of J&K Ormonde Ltd. He has now been in the role for almost two years now and the 24-year-old is as happy as he’s ever been.
“I drove for a friend of mine for a year after that…I started with James then nearly two years ago.”
Team/Services/Tom’s Role -
J&K Ormonde or Castlestone as it is also known is a family-run business in operation for over thirty years.
They predominantly deal in decorative stone, animal feed, building materials and mulch of all shapes, colours and sizes. Operations are currently run by James Ormonde, with a team of 8 to 10 drivers and some part-time drivers also.
The team deliver everything from building materials to sand, gravel, topsoil, bark mulch, rubber mulch and decorative stone of all types. Tom’s role sees him carrying out predominantly tipper work, transporting everything from sand to gravel to stone and animal feed all throughout the country and occasionally the UK.
“It is all tipper work,” Tom explained.
“The boss himself does a bit of driving too.” Tom said.
The Truck/Fleet -
Currently within the fleet of J&R Ormonde Ltd is a team of Volvo lorries, including three 650’s, a 750 and four 540’s.
“He actually has a good fleet there. He has three 650 Volvo’s, he has a 750 and he has four 540’s,” said Tom.
Model: FH16 650
Drawing capacity - 46-tonne gross weight.
“She was only new last year.” said Tom of the truck he drives.
Future Aspirations -
Although Tom admits to harbouring hopes of owning his own truck at some stage down the line, he concedes he is very comfortable working for someone else.
“I would like to have my own truck, but it is too easy to get paid on a Friday, it’s less hassle.” He joked.
Although more than content with his current role, he is not ruling out getting his own truck at some stage down the line.
“I’ll take it one day at a time.” said the haulier.
The 24-year-old will continue doing what he does best for the time being, with no plans to slow down anytime soon.
Why Haulage -
A man driven by a sense of pride in following the career path set by his father, Tom admits that the love for the game is simply flowing through his veins.
“Once it’s in your blood that’s it, you can’t get it out of it at all.” He said.
He not only enjoys the variety of the job, but Tom also revels in the freedom connected to the job and as is always the case with hauliers, he is simply ‘mad for tar’.
“I hate being in the one spot really” he laughed.
“I just like being out and about and the freedom of it…There is just something about it really,” he added.
Are you working within the haulage sector or behind the wheel like Tom? Fancy sharing your story and being featured on our weekly segment? If so, contact That's Farming - email@example.com