Truckers threaten port blockade over diesel prices


Truckers are considering a nationwide blockade of ports next month to force the Government to act on spiralling fuel costs.

The Irish Road Hauliers Association (IRHA) are preparing a French-style blockade of ports which could cause chaos during one of the busiest shipping times of the year.

With world oil prices pushing fuel costs up by 50 per cent on last year, the IRHA has called for the Government to introduce a 14 cent rebate on each litre of diesel to give some relief to hauliers.

IRHA spokesman Jimmy Quinn said: "If something comes to a halt, it will come to a spectacular halt. We don't want to go on strike but the Government won't pay you any attention in this country until you try a few guerrilla tactics.

"If it was the publicans or the builders complaining, the Government would bail them out straight away."

Hauliers claim that up to €370 of the cost of 1,000 litres of diesel currently goes to the Government on VAT and duty.

"We're just asking them to take a little less from us and help us meet the increasing cost of putting diesel in our tanks," explained Mr Quinn.

The IRHA is believed to have hired a Dublin-based public relations agency to handle advance media coverage of the proposed blockade, which likely to focus on Rosslare and Dublin.

It has also consulted former IRHA president Gerry McMahon, who spearheaded protests in 2000 in which of 1,500 truckers brought towns and cities to a standstill. The cost to local economies of the slow-moving convoys was estimated at up to €30 million.