Donegal Senator Brian Ó Domhnaill has this afternoon, in the Seanad, called on the Minister for Transport to intensify efforts to gain a complete exemption from the new HGV Charge for Irish Registered Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs), when entering the North of Ireland on or after the 1st of April 2014.
Senator Ó Domhnaill said; “The Irish Government must leave no stone unturned in order to obtain an exemption from this levy. The levy, if implemented, would have a very serious impact for over 9,500 vehicles in Ireland but particularly on haulage operators in county Donegal as they have to travel through Northern Ireland along the A5 to access the South in many cases.
“The new levy will impact all businesses that transport goods between both sides of the border; it will actually discourage companies in Donegal from expanding into and trading with the North.
“I have now been assured by Minister of State Fergus O Dowd that the Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar has met with the UK Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport earlier today and he did press the issue at the meeting.”
“I understand that clause 3 of the UK HGV Road Users Levy Act 2013 allows the Secretary of State to vary the extent of the scheme by order. While the UK have proposed to exclude approximately 7 miles of cross-border road between the Republic and Northern Ireland – this is simply not sufficient.
“I have asked Minister O’ Dowd & Minister Varadkar to seek a full exemption for Irish Heavy Goods Vehicles. I believe that due to Ireland’s £20 million sterling contribution to the A5 and takin into account the spirit of the Good Friday Agreement an exemption should be granted.”
“It is totally unreasonable and unjust that we contribute to the cost of a significant piece of infrastructure (A5) and then our hauliers are also expected to pay for it.
“I have been assured today that following the meeting between Minister Varadkar and his British Counterpart that further consideration will now be given to exemptions by officials of their respective Departments.
“A speedy outcome is however required as the charge is due to come into effect on April 01st next.” concluded Ó Domhnaill.