Truckers to protest over diesel and fuel prices


CONCERNS OVER rising diesel and fuel prices have escalated, with truckers planning a protest in Dublin next month and the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) due to raise the issue with politicians when it meets the Oireachtas Transport Committee on Wednesday.

The truckers, who have the backing of the Road Haulage Association, will converge on the capital on the morning of February 22nd. They plan to bring Dublin to a standstill by 8am in protest at rising diesel prices.

Gardaí have been informed of the plan and are to meet to draw up contingency plans for the rally.

One of the organisers of the protest is Donegal truck company boss John McLaughlin of JML Transport.

Mr McLaughlin has met numerous politicians including Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar in recent weeks to discuss truckers’ concerns about rising fuel costs.

He said the time for talking had passed, and action would now take its place. “We have been left with no opportunity but to blockade the entire city. We will bring Dublin to a standstill.”

He said this would be just the first in a series of huge protests unless something drastic was done to slash the rising price of fuel.

“This is not just about truckers. This is about the ordinary family who can no longer afford to run their car because it is too expensive to fill the tank.

“The whole of the country is suffering, and our Government is just sitting by and allowing it to happen without doing anything about it,” he said.

Those who cannot make it to Dublin to protest are being encouraged to protest outside their local Government and council offices in their towns and villages.

Meanwhile, IFA president John Bryan said rapidly escalating fuel and energy costs were now threatening agricultural growth, job creation and Ireland’s prospects for recovery.

He said Ireland was particularly vulnerable because of our reliance on imported energy, our dependence on exports and our island status.

“Road fuel prices have increased by almost 4 per cent and agricultural diesel prices by 2.5 per cent in the first month of the year,” he said. “Since 2010, agricultural diesel has gone up by a massive 54 per cent, while road diesel has increased by almost 35 per cent.

Mr Bryan warned that further price increases were in the pipeline because of the geopolitical tensions developing between the West and Iran, coupled with sustained speculative investment by funds.

He said the Government and EU must take action to ensure energy prices became more competitive and to contain speculative investment in oil products.

He encouraged policymakers to examine opportunities to lower haulage costs through increased transport weight limits and trailer length for agricultural and heavy goods vehicles. “In addition, the Government must move to put viable supports in place to get our bio-energy industry established, as Ireland is being left behind the rest of Europe.”