Friday, November 20, 2009

Irish Haulage Association Prepares to Go On Warpath

Fury at ‘Buck-Passing’ by Irish Government
Shipping News Feature

IRELAND – The Irish Road Haulage Association (IRHA) has reacted angrily to what it says is ‘buck passing’ and ministers refusal to meet with their representatives to discuss a proposed carbon tax on fuel that will heavily hit freight companies in the country.

In a statement the IRHA said that they were surprised and disappointed by responses they received from Minister of the Environment John Gormley and Minister for Energy Eamon Ryan who, the IRHA claim, stated that the issue was not in their respective remits but rather one for the Ministry of Finance.

“We have been advised in writing by both Ministers that they have no desire to meet the Association and that our concerns have been directed to the Minister for Finance as the proposed carbon fuel tax is a taxation matter rather than an environmental matter,” said Vincent Caulfield, President of the Association.

“Minister Gormely and Minister Ryan have clearly chosen to wash their hands of the issue having satisfied themselves that it is fundamentally a tax matter. Their identical responses raise questions about the real motivation and credibility of the Green Party in presenting policies which it claims will achieve real behavioural change resulting in reduced carbon emissions,” he added.

The IRHA has already asked the Irish government to amend the proposed legislation so as to permit licensed freight carriers to charge a carbon tax on services in the same way as VAT. This, they believe, will offset the costs to the transport industry.

However, Caulfield condemned the unhelpful attitude of the ministers, stating that this showed how the proposed carbon tax had nothing to do with environmental concerns and was purely a fiscal matter. He also said that the membership of the IRHA had had enough of such behaviour.

“Road hauliers will not be hoodwinked into accepting another increase in fuel duty dressed up as a carbon fuel tax or to be shuffled from one Department to the next without reply. We are prepared to take to the roads as we did in the past if that is what it takes to have the Government hear our case and concerns,” he warned.