Sinn Féin MEP, Bairbre de Brún has welcomed the EU challenge to the Irish government on its handling of the Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT) issue.
Speaking as the issue was debated in the Petitions Committee of the European Parliament Ms de Brún told donegaldaily: “I welcome the fact that the European Parliament has the opportunity to debate the important issue of VRT.
“People at home have been badly affected by the way this issue has been handled and are keen to present first hand information to the EU about this.
“While all states have the right to their own taxation system, the State should not be able to seize goods worth more than the sum which is owed.
“VRT has been imposed at an unbelievable rate of 36% , and overzealous pursuit saw the seizure of cars at the roadside followed now by disproportionate legal proceedings against some of those who had bought cars across the border.”
The petition from Donegal man John E Doherty of the Irish Driver’s Association calls in to question the legality under EU law of the 36% Vehicle registration Tax (VRT) in Ireland.
The Irish Government continues to impose Vehicle Registration Tax on new and second-hand vehicles ‘imported’ into the State from the North of Ireland.
The European Commission is investigating the way the Irish authorities are applying Vehicle Registration Tax and in particular the way in which the value of second-hand vehicles is established.
Under the Finance Bill, Gardai are given the power to seize cars at the roadside for non-payment of VRT. This is even if they are properly registered in, for example, the North, and fully insured etc to be driven in the South.
Gardai and customs officers are ‘knowingly breaking the law’ every time they seize a vehicle in connection with VRT charges, to Mr Doherty.
The Association has said that car seizures and VRT blitz by Customs and Excise stands in contradiction of both Irish and European Union legislation, a ruling they claim has already been upheld at Letterkenny Court.
John Doherty insists: “The Gardai and Customs are both fully aware that they are breaking European law and breaching peoples rights with these seizure.”
He claims precedent set last January has already been established in the case of his son when three charges against him were struck out by Judge Kevin Kilraine.
He ruled that the seizure breached Article 25 of the Treaty of Rome Act (free movement of products within the Union). When the car was taken, they also denied him the right of due process, as he was not convicted of any crime yet his car was taken from him.Tags: