Fianna Fáil Louth TD Seamus Kirk has called for multi-agency approach involving authorities North and South to tackle fuel smuggling in the border counties. Deputy Kirk was speaking about ongoing concerns around smuggling by criminal gangs and dumping of toxic materials affecting water quality in the region.
Deputy Kirk said: “The issue of fuel smuggling remains a major concern for Louth and other border counties. I have consistently called for the Government and State agencies to increase co-operation with authorities in the North and last week I sought the intervention of the Environmental Protection Agency following media reports that water for County Louth was being polluted by toxins harmful to the public. There are around 40,000 people living in Dundalk and they need assurances that their water supply is safe and hasn’t been compromised by toxins from criminal activity.
“One measure the government should look at is to change the excise duty on agricultural diesel. The simple fact of the matter is auto diesel is considerably more expensive than agricultural diesel. If we’re in a position to take some of the incentive for smugglers away we could significantly dent the market for this illegal activity. This would likely involve compensation for farmers but I believe this is something the Government should be open to looking at.
“A multi-agency approach that is cross-border in nature involving Revenue, the EPA, the Northern Ireland Environment Agency as well as local authorities in Louth, Monaghan, Cavan, and Armagh is the best way to tackle this problem. A lot of work is already being done but I believe more action is required particularly given the fact that concerns are now being expressed about the safety of water as a result of this criminal activity. Fuel smuggling has a huge impact on the economy, locally and nationally and it must be stamped out.”