The assets of the organised criminal gangs behind the petrol stretching scam need to be seized and put into a fund to compensate motorists whose engines have been wrecked by adulterated fuel.
That is according to Fine Gael’s Deputy Michelle Mulherin.
Deputy Mulherin has also called for more resources to tackle the problem, including getting the Army involved.
Last week An Garda Síochána and Revenue announced they have launched a joint operation on petrol stretching.
Deputy Mulherin says everything she is hearing on the problem has led her to believe gangs with links to the Provisional IRA are behind the operation, and the Army should now be called in to assist in breaking it up.
“This is big time crime. There is a whole system in place. If we are talking about the Provisional IRA, then we are dealing with people who are a threat to law and order in the state, a threat to national security. That’s why I suggest bringing in the Army.”
Speaking on the matter in the Dáil last week, Deputy Mulherin said petrol stretching is crippling consumer confidence and damaging legitimate traders.
“I have attended meetings in my county at which people asked me where they should go to buy petrol,” she said. “That is shocking to say about consumer confidence in this day and age.”
Hundreds of motorists in Mayo are reported to have been affected by petrol stretching, which involves adding components such as kerosene to fuel to make it more profitable.
The adulterated fuel causes a disastrous build-up of carbon in the engine which, depending on the make and model of the car, could cause complete engine failure and cost thousands of euros to repair.