The Irish Road Haulage Association (IRHA) has expressed its disappointment at Budget 19. IRHA president Verona Murphy told HGVIreland.com the Budget “utterly failed the licensed haulage sector.”
Ms Murphy said: “While the IRHA welcomes the absence of an increase in Carbon Tax and no changes to the excise levels for Diesel, we are very concerned that the measures announced today make no allowance for the rising cost of diesel for the licensed haulage sector. These rapidly rising costs are threatening the very viability of our sector, at a time when we are facing into the abyss with Brexit”.
The IRHA had requested Minister Donohoe to revamp the existing Diesel Rebate Scheme to take account of rising fuel costs and to ensure that the sector could be Brexit ready.
Ms Murphy said “The Minister’s failure to incorporate this into the Budget Statement is hugely disappointing and shows us that this Government simply does not get what we as an industry are facing at this time.”
Ms Murphy said: “12 months ago, diesel prices were around the €1.00 mark (ex VAT). 12 months on and the price has reached €1.14 and there is no sign that this figure will reduce any time soon. It may continue to increase. Added to that, although sterling devaluation was affecting our members badly, the threat of a “no deal Brexit” seemed remote 12 months ago. Now, there is a palpable fear among our members of what we are about to face, and the price of diesel has risen by 14 per cent.”
Ms Murphy said: “Economist Jim Power, said recently that the potential cost of Brexit to the haulage industry in the first year he believes could well exceed the initial estimation of €180 million. If this Government is serious about having Irish industry Brexit ready then the Finance Bill needs to reflect revised measures on the Diesel Rebate Scheme.”
Ms Murphy said that she would be seeking an urgent meeting with Minister Donohoe to voice her members concerns.
“My members are concerned and angry at the Government’s unwillingness to recognise their precarious plight. The proposed Gas Capital Allowance Scheme for Commercial Vehicles represents an Alice in Wonderland proposal and will do little for 99 per cent of the national haulage fleet – addressing rising fuel costs will make a real difference.”