Fianna Fáil Senator Marc Mac Sharry has called on the Government to act immediately to ensure the Irish haulage industry doesn’t collapse.
Senator Mac Sharry was reacting to the announcement that haulage company Target Express is to cease trading with the loss of 390 jobs. Many other fuel dependent industries, particularly those in haulage and transport, given the inordinate demands on duty, taxes and other business costs have come under serious undue pressure in the past number of months.
“Target Express say they contacted three separate Government Ministers to no avail, this again goes to show the remarkable disconnect the Fine Gael/Labour administration has with the employment sector. It also proves that the current Government is a disorganised system of independent agencies and Departments with no joined up thinking. This headless chicken approach cannot continue. There is a need for some common sense here with a cohesive and flexible approach to business. The downturn has naturally claimed jobs but Government inaction is preventing the necessary flexibility of the state authorities which will lead to many more job losses that could have and should have been avoided.
“While I do not condone tax evasion and clearly Revenue has a job to do, the Government must legislate to permit flexibility in the interest of saving jobs when it comes to enforcement.”
On the haulage industry in particular Mac Sharry said: “The collapse of Target Express is a clear signal to the Government that the Irish haulage sector is in a state of crisis. Nearly 20% of haulage companies have gone out of business since 2010 representing 5,000 jobs losses. The spiralling cost of fuel has hugely impacted on hauliers with fuel now accounting for 50% of these companies’ cost base. The road haulage industry contributes over €1 billion to the general exchequer and receives no financial assistance from the Government, if it is to survive something must be done by this Government to ease the pressure.
“The Irish Road Haulage Association (IRHA) has warned that several more large transport companies could go out of business before the end of the year. IRHA president Eoin Gavin called for the introduction of a rebate on fuel duty for hauliers, similar to those available in Belgium, Luxembourg and Spain. Over the past year I have been calling upon the Government to implement a fuel rebate scheme for high fuel dependent companies in Ireland.
“The forthcoming Dáil session will see Fianna Fáil publish legislative proposals for a fuel rebate scheme for haulage companies, together with a mechanism to address the impact of fuel laundering”.
“The industry is under attack, its collapse will severely impact on our competitiveness internationally. If the Government remains in autopilot we will continue to see many companies like Target Express fall by the wayside”.