Truckers protesting in Dublin fined for obstruction


A number of hauliers and truck drivers protesting soaring fuel prices have been fined for obstructing roads in Dublin’s docklands.

The protest caused disruption in the east of the city after protesters gathered early Monday morning.

Truckers and hauliers protesting against rising fuel prices blocked roads to Dublin Port but caused little disruption to traffic.

About 25 vehicles were involved in the blocking of the Tom Clarke Bridge, formerly the East Link Bridge, and the Point Village roundabout.

Turnout was low as organizers planned to put the entire city on hold. A rally in O’Connell Street scheduled for 9 a.m. did not take place.

The group’s demands relate in particular to a cap on the prices of petrol, diesel and heating oil, the abolition of the carbon tax and the resignation of Transport Minister Eamon Ryan.

The price ceilings sought by the group are €1.10 per liter of petrol, €1.20 per liter of diesel, 65 cents per liter of green diesel and 65 cents per liter of heating oil.

AA Ireland’s most recent price survey found that the average price per liter of diesel was €1.90, while petrol was €1.82.

The Department for Transport said it would not comment on the protests, but in a statement it pointed out that the government had recently opened a support scheme of €100 per week for each licensed HGV, which costs 18 million euros and will last for eight weeks

It also reduced the excise duty of 20 cents per liter of gasoline, 15 cents per liter of diesel and 2 cents the excise duty levied on marked diesel fuel.

VAT-registered businesses can deduct the VAT they are charged on the purchase of business inputs, such as on-road diesel and other automobile expenses.

The Garda press office said traffic in the city had shifted overall, with major disruption confined to the east of the city around the port.

The protest against rising fuel prices was much smaller than previous protests in the Dublin Port area.

Traffic to and from the port has been diverted down Sheriff Street Upper and away from the East Wall Bridge which is blocked closest to Point Village.

The streets of Dublin were largely deserted on Monday morning as motorists appeared to heed advice to stay away from the city centre.

A Garda spokesman said there were no significant traffic problems following the protest.

None of the truckers participating in the protest wanted to give their full name. A few said they were targeted after the previous protest.

One Declan said the government’s £100-a-week grant for registered heavy goods vehicles was for the “privileged few” and did not include smaller vehicles such as vans and pick-up trucks.

He said they were ready to stay as long as it took and called on the government to intervene.

The group behind the protest, which called itself The People of Ireland Against Fuel Prices, had previously said it would not leave without a resolution on the issue and called on participants to prepare to protest “during at least a week, maybe even two”. .

The protesters were previously known as The Irish Trucker and Haulage Association against Fuel Prices.

Before Christmas, this group organized two similar demonstrations, the first of which had a major impact on traffic, while the second was much smaller than expected.

The People of Ireland Against Fuel Prices group is not affiliated with the official Irish Road Haulage Association.

Requests

In a post on Facebook, where it organized the protests, the new group said it would not be a one-day protest and would be a “long, drawn-out process until ‘to what our demands our [sic] meet”.

“We are a group of trucking companies struggling to stay afloat and we have come together, along with farmers, bus companies, taxis and the general public to protest because the price of being in business and the cost of life are not affordable. We are all in crisis,” the post said.

The group condemned the government’s plan to increase the fuel tax, referring to the carbon tax increase which is due to come into force on May 1.

Dublin Town group of companies chief executive Richard Guiney said on Monday protests and disruption were not what Dublin needed at a time when businesses were “still emerging from the pandemic”.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Mr Guiney called for dialogue with the protesting truckers, saying companies and their staff were also experiencing inflation.

He said the issue was “something we need to work on together rather than one sector impacting another, especially when that sector is still so fragile”.


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