Wicklow Sinn Féin TD John Brady has welcomed the fact that the government has responded to political and public pressure and announced a last minute deferral of toll increases for six months.
However, he warned the deferral does not go far enough and that instead of kicking the can down the road the government must address the issue to ensure people in Wicklow are protected from unfair price hikes.
“I welcome that the government has performed this last minute u-turn ahead of Sinn Féin’s motion on the issue coming before the Dáil this evening. I want to commend everyone who made their voice heard and put pressure on the government to stop these unfair price hikes.
However, while the government’s announcement is an important first step, it does not go far enough. The government needs to recognise we are living in a cost-of-living crisis, and workers and businesses in Wicklow are already struggling with transport costs.
“The government’s proposal only serves to kick the can down the road and does not provide the certainty required. The Minister for Transport was notified about these increases on September 1st, ahead of the Budget, but he decided to do nothing about it. He has now had to roll back as a result of political and public pressure.
The government had no intention of addressing these toll increases and that is why Sinn Féin brought forward our Dáil motion tonight. It shouldn’t have taken our motion for the government to feel pressured into taking action.
Motorists and hauliers in Wicklow will still be facing very high transport costs into 2023, so this deferral is only a sticking plaster.
This entire saga highlights how generous these gold plated, Fianna Fáil era road toll contracts are and, further, how poorly successive governments have invested in roads maintenance and upkeep.
The government should use the next six months to assess the funding for our roads network and review the value for money of these PPP contracts. People in Wicklow are facing huge financial pressure and need support as the cost of living crisis continues. Sinn Féin in government will stand up for people ensure they get the support they need.” – John Brady, TD