Irish hauliers threaten day of action

Limerick, Ireland: Irish hauliers say they will withdraw their services nationwide for a day unless the transport minister faces them to thrash out concerns about spiralling costs.

Members of the Irish Road Haulage Association (IRHA) are angry about a raft of issues including fuel duty, road tax, illegal operators and proposals to issue O-licences to agricultural tractors.

“Ireland is an export economy that depends on us so it’s in everyone’s interest to support the haulage industry,” says Eoin Gavin, a member of the IRHA’s management committee.

If transport minister Leo Varadkar fails to respond to the association’s request for a meeting the IRHA will meet on 16 April to decide on what action to take next.

“Rising fuel costs forced over 250 haulage companies to fail or cease trading in 2010 and almost as many are currently on the brink of closure,” says Vincent Caulfield, president of the association .”The anger amongst delegates has been intensified by the new government’s failure to engage on the issue or to recognise their role in guaranteeing the provision of professional and reliable transport services.”

The association is calling on the new government to introduce a fuel duty rebate for tax compliant hauliers and to allow licensed freight carriers to charge a carbon tax on services in the same way as VAT.

“The anger amongst members has reached boiling point,” says Caulfield. “Proposals by the government permitting tractors to engage in road haulage and to pull heavy goods trailers on Irish roads have exacerbated the situation and inflamed the mood of hauliers,” he adds.

In September 2000 nationwide convoys of lorries forced the government to cut fuel duty.

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