Deputy McConalogue said today: “There is real concern among the public following recent reports of a clampdown on people using commercially registered vehicles outside of work hours.
“Self-employed people who are finding things tight at the moment don’t need the added stress of constantly worrying that their vehicles may be seized. I have written to the Minister asking that he clarify the position and ensure that a common sense approach is adopted.
“When this first became an issue last year, a public commitment was secured from then Minister for Environment John Gormley who stated that the occasional use of commercially registered vehicles, to bring children to school, travel to church or transport groceries should not bring motorists into conflict with the law.
“However we now seem to be in a position where there is once again confusion over this and it is vital that the Minister for Finance makes the position clear.
“Many people who have commercially registered vehicles for their business are understandably concerned that they may soon be forced to register their vehicles as private, in order to use them for any task outside of work. This could see many already financially stretched people having to consider selling their vehicle due to the high cost of registering it as private. If people are forced to do this in the current market, they would inevitably have to accept a knock down price.
“This is not an acceptable scenario. Putting people in a position where they may be forced to make a call between taxing their commercial vehicle as private or selling it simply doesn’t make sense,” concluded Deputy McConalogue.
Also hit in the clampdown have been a number of van drivers with Northern-registered vehicles which they use for work – and then to travel home to Donegal after work.
They have had them seized by Customs.