Slow-moving convoys cause major delays on routes into capital
Truck drivers who caused major traffic delays on approach routes to Dublin yesterday in protest at the rising cost of fuel have not ruled out further action in the lead-up to Christmas.
The drivers, who are affiliated with a group who operate through a Facebook page, formed slow-moving convoys on the M50, M1, M7 and M4 yesterday morning after gathering in groups before dawn at service stations on the outskirts of the capital.
Gardaí reported delays at Blanchardstown and Ballymun on the M50, Newlands Cross down from the M7, inbound at the airport on the M1 and at Liffey Valley on the M4. Donabate in north Dublin was also affected.
Trucks were driving slowly three abreast, causing traffic to build up behind them.
The Irish Truckers and Haulage Association Against Fuel Prices (ITHAAFP) had released a statement on Tuesday night saying the protest was for lower fuel costs at the pump and at home.
“This is for the people of Ireland. We are all suffering, some more than others,” the statement said.
“We want lower costs and lower taxes – rebates are no good. We want the Government to address the nation on this cause.”
There was widespread confusion among the drivers in Dublin city centre when the trucks arrived.
The Facebook group had said it had no individual spokesperson, believed to be in an effort to frustrate the serving of any legal actions or injunctions, and as a result there was no cohesion.
A call had gone out on Facebook for drivers to gather at Leinster House on Kildare Street, and roads in and around the area were closed as a result.
However, the drivers stayed by their cabs on Dawson Street, Stephen’s Green and Merrion Square South, where gardaí had created a parking area for them.
Around 100 vehicles lined up behind a barrier on Merrion Square, leaving Kildare Street and Molesworth Street clear of trucks.
It was clear by lunchtime that the drivers, without any direction from an organising figure, did not know what to do next.
In the end, they had a meeting among themselves, and one approached gardaí at 1pm and said if the barrier was removed they would leave.
Officers then consulted with their superiors, and the barriers were removed a short time later after TDs Michael Healy-Rae and his brother Danny spoke with them.
Some drivers told the Healy-Raes that if the Government did not take action soon to resolve the fuel price issue, there would be further protests before Christmas.
The drivers then left in a procession, blasting their horns as they made their way toward Dublin Port and on through the Port Tunnel.
Driver Jason Fogarty, who had parked at Merrion Square, said he was proud of the drivers who showed up.
“All these lads are losing money just to come up here and make their point, and people are saying it’s pointless burning diesel to be here,” he said.
“But unless we get our point across and take a stance we’re going to have no industry and we’ll have no trucks in this country.
“Our country is run on the back of trucks. On the back of lads like me that leave the house on a Sunday night and don’t go home until Friday to make sure you have cheap products on your tables.
“Unless we get a rebate or something comes down, we’re just not going to be able to drive.”
Drivers Seán Henry and Pat Russell drove from Dunboyne in a convoy of 30 vehicles, arriving on Dawson Street just before 9am.
Mr Russell said fuel that would have cost €100 a few months ago now costs €180.
“The average cost of everybody shopping is going to double for the simple reason that your bread or milk, everything, comes on a truck,” he added.