The Irish Road Haulage Association (IRHA ) has expressed its concern at reports that eight new toll locations may be introduced on Irish roads. Hard pressed private motorists, van owners, farmers and small businesses will also be unimpressed with such a proposal.
The IRHA has called for the establishment of a task force to examine all road tolling systems to ensure that all road users are taxed at appropriate levels.
Commenting on the fact that the National Roads Authority has commenced a process of examining means of generating additional revenue through new tolls on Ireland’s existing road network, Eoin Gavin, president of the IRHA, said that such increases in tolling would have major implications, not only for the road haulage industry, but for Ireland’s overall competitiveness, which he said would be inevitably eroded.
“As a primarily exporting nation, Ireland needs to ensure that its exports are as price-competitive as possible. Introducing a network of additional tolls around Ireland would be a profoundly punitive measure which would, quite simply, increase costs on exports and reduce our ability to compete across a range of sectors. The value of Irish exports reached €161 billion last year, the highest annual figure ever recorded. Such moves to discourage and stem the flow of goods are entirely inconsistent with Ireland’s open for business ethos which is being advocated from all quarters at this challenging time.
“A task force should be established immediately to review the road tax and tolling systems in Ireland. The current double taxation of road tax and tolling is not balanced and unfairly penalises the road haulage sector. A Euro Vignette style system should be introduced which would have one method of collection and is based on a pay as you go system.”
The Irish haulage sector is currently paying the highest level of road tax in Ireland and also pays nearly the most in Europe in terms of fuel duty and carbon tax. Furthermore, a recent report by the Irish Exporters Association said that a number of EU directives have been agreed which will impose €97.5million in added costs on Irish exports exiting Ireland.