Second meeting planned on petrol stretching scam

Four hundred people, including gardaí, TDs and forecourt owners, attended the initial meeting on petrol stretching in the Gateway Hotel, Swinford, last month. Photo: Michael Donnelly.

Four hundred people, including gardaí, TDs and forecourt owners, attended the initial meeting on petrol stretching in the Gateway Hotel, Swinford, last month. Photo: Michael Donnelly.

A number of groups, which have sprung up across the region in response to a major petrol stretching scam, may be joining forces in an effort to get answers and action on the issue.

Last week, The Mayo Advertiser reported gardaí are investigating 86 cases of suspected petrol stretching in the county, although many more people are believed to have been hit by the problem.

A second public meeting on the matter has now been scheduled for the Gateway Hotel, Swinford, at 8.30pm on Monday night.

Petrol stretching involves adding cheaper components such as kerosene and methanol to fuel to boost profits.

Engines, particularly in newer model vehicles, are destroyed by the gummy residue from the fuel.

A number of individuals in Mayo who fell victim to petrol stretching formed a committee and organised an initial meeting on the issue, which was attended by 400 people on September 16 in the Gateway Hotel.

This second meeting is intended to keep the pressure on official bodies and political representatives to track down the source of the bad fuel and get compensation for the people left out of pocket - some by up to €5,000 - for engine repair or replacement.

Bernard O’Brien, a hackney driver from Swinford, is one of the organisers.

“We promised all of the people who attended the last meeting that we would give them an update. It has now been five weeks since that first meeting and we are hearing a lot of different things. There is a lot that we are still not sure about.

“We want to explain to people what we have done so far and get some face-to-face answers from the people who are supposed to be working on this,” he said.

He said the committee had invited local TDs, Garda representatives, forecourt owners, and customs and revenue representatives to the meeting.

Mr O’Brien said new cases of engines destroyed by contaminated fuel were still being brought to his attention.

He said he expected representatives from a number of other groups formed across the region in response to the problem of petrol stretching to be in attendance.

“We may all be able to join up on this,” he added.

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