FINE Gael Cork North West Deputy, Áine Collins, has today (Monday) said the introduction of a fuel rebate for Irish hauliers who refuel at home is being examined as a means of tackling the high cost of diesel and stamping out illegal fuel laundering which is prevalent in Ireland.
Deputy Collins is a member of a Working Group which was set-up between the Department of Finance and the Irish Road Hauliers Association (IRHA) which aims to seek resolutions to issues facing the haulage industry. The Working Group has compiled a report which is currently with the Minister for Finance for review.
“In a bid to address some of the issues associated with the high cost of fuel, which is driving criminal activity, the Department of Finance and the IRHA Working Group are exploring the benefits that may be derived from the activation of an Essential User Rebate (EUR) for road hauliers.
“Encouraging Irish hauliers to refuel in Ireland stands to net substantial gains for the Exchequer. Similarly ‘tank tourism’, which refers to foreign operators refuelling their vehicles in Ireland instead of abroad, to avail of a fuel rebate mechanism, could also reap significant rewards. A rebate would see the cost of fuel fall for those eligible for it and would diminish the temptation to engage with washed or green fuel dealers who are costing the Exchequer in the region of €150 million annually.
“The IRHA has said that the introduction of an EUR could have a net gain for the State coffers to the tune of €213 million. Where Irish hauliers are concerned, the IRHA says the benefit of Irish hauliers fuelling at home would be between €74 million and €122 million. The Association feels that continental hauliers would similarly be encouraged to refuel their tanks in Ireland if a rebate was in place; generating up to €87 million for the Exchequer.
“While some of the figures cited by the IRHA have been disputed by the Department, the establishment of the Working Group and engagement between the two parties brings us a step closer to resolving these issues. The ultimate goal for everyone involved is to stem the flow of job losses from the Irish haulage industry by reducing costs for operators, to stamp out criminality where the laundering of fuel is concerned and to ensure that Ireland’s exports are as competitive as possible.”