Convoys of heavy goods vehicles have caused widespread traffic disruption in Dublin as part of a protest over fuel costs.
The group – Irish Truckers And Haulage Association Against Fuel Prices – made their way from the main arterial routes in Dublin to Kildare Street on Wednesday.
The group is calling for “lower fuel costs at the pump and at home”, adding that the protest was for the people of Ireland.
The group said in a statement: “We want the Government to address the nation on this cause.
“If we don’t get a change, a lot of small operators will be out of business sooner than you think.
“If we don’t get an answer we will be back in bigger numbers for a week before Christmas.”
Lorry driver Fintan McDermott said truckers were paying an extra 350 euros a week to fill a tank.
“We are not making the extra 350 euros a week to pay for it,” he told the PA news agency.
“It’s not sustainable because if you fill twice a week, that is 700 euros. You have to make up the extra money but you are not making enough because you are still only doing the same amount of work.
“It’s cutting into everything. The truck drivers aren’t getting paid extra money.
“The delivery charges are not creeping up.”
He said the protest had received support from motorists, despite the widespread traffic disruption.
“Surprisingly, a lot of cars are beeping as they understand it as well,” he added.
“An average car is an extra 30 euros a tank and the Government said it was going to be an extra euro a tank.”
Motorist Francis Flaherty joined the truckers in support of their protest.
“We are all about cars, that is all we live for. We don’t drink, we don’t do drugs, cars is our living and we put our money into our cars,” he said.
“This price hike of fuel has affected us a lot. The likes of this car would take 60 quid but it is now taking over 90 euros to fill it.
“That has affected me going to work. We can’t enjoy our weekends away, driving, cruising.
“It’s very hard, so it is time to take a stand against the Government.”
Independent TD Richard O’Donoghue was among the supporters.
“The food on the shelves for you to get fed – who brings it there? Frontline haulage workers,” he said.
“Every person who came and drove their trucks here today are doing this to lower inflation because as the cost of running these trucks goes up, the cost of getting food goes up.
“That’s why they need to be protected.”
Government engagement needed to address hauliers’ concerns – @orourke_darren— Sinn Féin (@sinnfeinireland) November 24, 2021
“The Government need to take note of the truckers and hauliers outside Leinster House, listen to their concerns and work with them to find solutions urgently.”https://t.co/iJoC35lGVa #Dáil pic.twitter.com/mxCOrwDUXp
Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald said that truckers and hauliers were being “absolutely crucified”.
“These are small and family businesses, already to the pin of their collar with rip-off insurance costs, extortionate utility bills and the domestic cost of living,” Ms McDonald added.
“Now skyrocketing increases in fuel are the final straw for many. Hauliers are essential workers who played a huge part in keeping the show on the road during the Covid emergency.
“Their protest today is a reaction to the escalating cost of energy and the fuel crisis.”
Taoiseach Micheal Martin said the Government was in “constant contact” with industry representatives about ongoing cost issues.