Drivers must prepare for more unfair penalties


REARVIEW:The Government’s four-year plan has not been kind to motorists. This was hardly unexpected. We are easy targets. Ireland remains one of the most car-dependent countries in the world. Due to the failings of the public transport network, vast swathes of our population have no option but to drive and, by extension, pay the associated levies.

At least the plan conceded one point – our emissions-based motor tax system needs to be reviewed. The shift to low-emissions cars has long since taken place. The social stigma attached to driving a fume-belching car is such that the financial incentive has almost become secondary for many motorists fortunate enough to be able to buy a new one. In environmental terms, it has been a success.

However, the current regime is unfair because it penalises those motorists who would like to be more environmentally friendly but cannot afford to buy new or nearly new cars. It is also unfair because it taxes a car’s potential to pollute rather than the actual pollution it causes. A far more equitable solution would be to abolish motor tax altogether and adopt the “polluter pays” principle, whereby the tax is piled on to the cost of fuel.

But fairness is not a consideration for the Government. Indeed, past performance would suggest the word is not even in their lexicon. Their real motivation to review the current system is that it is costing them money. Therefore, I predict motor taxes will shoot up over the coming years. If they don’t, I’ll eat a Range Rover.

Any motorist hoping to escape the Minister for Finance’s predatory attention is likely to be sorely disappointed. We may not like it, but Ireland is penniless and somebody has to pay for the mistakes of the venal, greedy few. That somebody is likely to be you and I.