Taxing by the kilometre


Sir, – Your paper describes a Government proposal to tax motorists on the distances they drive (Front page, August 7th). This policy would be popular as smallpox nationally.

Despite the urban-centred policies and priorities of the current Government, many of its deputies must still venture into the mists and forests beyond the M50 mingling with the wild rural people for their votes.

The policy of “taxing distance” is a cyanide capsule sitting on the shelf of transport policy. The pattern of settlement in this country – and the ongoing depletion of public transport infrastructure in rural areas by the Government – make “taxing distance” about as legitimate and sensible as “taxing daylight” was in the 19th century. – Yours, etc,



Co Donegal.

Sir, – The Department of Finance is considering proposals regarding protecting tax revenue with the advent of low emission vehicles.

It is also looking at a proposal on increasing carbon taxation (“Motorists could be taxed on distance they drive”, Fiach Kelly, Front page, August 7th).

On the face of it, very reasonable proposals. But thousands of people are forced to commute long distances each day due to the housing and employment strategy of this and previous governments.

The jobs are in one place, where ordinary working people can’t afford to buy, and the houses they can afford to buy are in another.

Another proposal to increase carbon taxes on fossil fuels such as coal, peat, etc, will do very little to change people’s choice of fuel for home heating as the highest users of coal and peat for home heating are also generally the poorest without the means to pay for a very expensive environmentally friendly heating system.

The politicians need to sort out the above issues before any further taxation of people’s limited incomes is approved.

Let’s put the horse before the cart this time. – Yours, etc,



Co Carlow.

Sir, – What next? A tax for those who beep their horn? – Yours, etc,



Co Wicklow.