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'Users rebate' vital for future of haulage firms

OVER 130 truckers attended a 'crisis' meeting of the Munster Road Haulage Operators on Thursday last to discuss the current fuel crisis which is putting pressure on its members.

The Millstreet haulage community was well represented at the meeting, as well as local representatives including Fine Gael TD, Áine Collins.

Áine Collins was part of the working group that took part in Essential User Fuel Rebate (EUR) negotiations with the Department of Finance earlier this year. The working group was appointed by the Minister for Finance and included the Department of Finance, Revenue, IRHA, Heather Humphries TD and Áine Collins TD. The group focused on the two areas that are putting the haulage industry under pressure - an Essential Users Rebate and laundered fuel.

Collins confirmed that the Government have already taken steps to try and combat the laundered fuel issue and will be introducing licencing over the next couple of months. All suppliers of green diesel will have to have a licence to sell it and will have to record where it's being sold on to.

"It will take some time to see how this works, but after the first six months we will have much better information on how much green diesel is being used and how," Deputy Collins said.

The IRHA stated that the implementation of an Essential User Rebate (EUR) is critical to the survival of the licensed road transport sector.

President of the IRHA Mr Eoin Gavin said "Our industry, which is vital to the continued contribution to our economic recovery, requires innovative solutions to be implemented by Government.

"The IRHA has provided such a solution and we now need the Government to show leadership and a proactive approach to the difficulties which are continuously deteriorating".

In relation to the fuel rebate Deputy Collins said that the Minister for Transport and Tourism, Leo Varadkar is 100% behind the introduction of an Essential Users Rebate, stressing however that the decision will be one for the Department of Finance.

Collins said that, currently, the report that was prepared by the working group has been submitted to the Minister for Finance and that all parties were happy with the report. Any decision that will come from the report will be made as a budgetary matter.

Commenting afterwards, Collins said 'clearly this is a really important industry in the drive for economic recovery.

"Exports are crucial in the current marketplace and having a robust haulage industry to deliver exports abroad is key."