Contractors want to see scrapping of green diesel
The country's agricultural contractors have come out in favour of eliminating green diesel in an attempt to clean up black-market contracting and to stem the losses to the exchequer from the trade in laundered diesel.
Following lengthy discussion at a Professional Agricultural Contractors' (PAC) meeting last week, the association has expressed a desire to discuss the details of how a rebate system for white diesel would work in practice.
The announcement by PAC follows the motor industry's suggestion that the Government should move away from the green and white diesel system to curb the widespread laundering of diesel.
However, the move will leave the contractors in direct opposition to the IFA, which is "totally opposed" to any move away from a discounted green diesel for agricultural use only on the basis that it would add a further layer of bureaucracy to farming. Industry analysts have estimated that the conversion of green diesel into white by illegally removing the dye is costing the exchequer up to €120m a year.
PAC's Tom Murphy said his organisation wanted to see how the rebate system would be operated.
"While periodical refunds of the rebate on diesel may be suitable for low usage farmers, agricultural contractors would require a monthly rebate refund at the peak of the season, because of the amounts involved and the difficulties financing it otherwise," said Mr Murphy.
"We are concerned at the extent of the black market in agricultural contracting and anything that helps to element it would be welcome," he added.
However, the Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan, has indicated that he is not in favour of introducing a rebate system on white diesel on the basis that it would increase administration costs.