Louth Fianna Fáil TD Seamus Kirk has called for a crack down on fuel laundering, after 20,000 litres of toxic diesel sludge was found dumped in Co Louth.
“This is just the latest incident of toxic sludge being abandoned near the border by gangs involved in illegal diesel laundering. It again emphasises the need for a crack-down on this criminal practice,” said Deputy Kirk.
“The use of laundered fuel is damaging to public safety, the environment and the exchequer. Figures published earlier this year show that 12% of all diesel in Ireland is sold illegally, and this is on the increase as fuel prices continue to soar. Measures must be taken to stamp out what has become a very profitable criminal enterprise.
“Last December Fianna Fáil outlined a series of proposals to crack down on diesel laundering. The proposals included that the duty on agricultural fuels and motor fuels be made equal, with a scheme to allow farmers to reclaim the extra costs incurred. This would deter criminals from purchasing agricultural fuel at a lower cost, laundering it and selling it on as motor fuel for a profit. It is estimated that it would save the exchequer €155 million a year.
“Fianna Fáil also proposed a 10c rebate for licensed road hauliers, similar to the system that operates in Belgium, France and Spain. This would encourage domestic hauliers to purchase their fuel within the State rather than when overseas.
“In addition to this, in April last, Fianna Fáil published legislation to reduce price of petrol and diesel at the pumps by 5c a litre and give the Finance Minister the power to review prices every quarter. This would provide some immediate respite for hard pressed consumers and the haulage sector, and help bring fuel prices under control. The Government voted down the legislation at the time.
“I am urging the Finance Minister to consider all of these proposals in the upcoming budget for next year. The Minister can count on my party’s full support in efforts to crack down on diesel laundering and bringing fuel prices under control.”