Wicklow Sinn Féin TD John Brady has described the government decision to increase the carbon tax levy that will increase fuel costs by 3c per litre in this week’s budget as another act designed to punish ordinary motorists.
Brady said: “The increase by 3c if the carbon tax levy on ordinary motorists is a punitive measure which will hit those without the means to purchase new state of the art EV motors the worst.
“On a daily basis there are literally tens of thousands of vehicles travelling up and down the N11 and N81. With many forced to commute outside the county, others to travel to medical appointments in Dublin, due lack of service in the county. Along with parents forced to drive children to school due to an inadequate school transport system.
“And the reality is that due to constraints imposed by the government’s economic policies, and the failure of the Minister for Transport to put in place a viable public transport alternative, they have little choice but to be there.
“Very often stuck in vehicles forced to idle in traffic burning ever more expensive fuel, for hours due to tailbacks on a dangerous road that is crying out for upgrades. But which the Green Party Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan refuses to sanction, for ideological reasons.
“This government has offered zero investment for the rail service in Wicklow. With carriages often overcrowded, and a limited reach, the option of travelling by rail is not there for most people in the county.
“We have bus routes such as the 133 to Wicklow Town, which have major capacity issues. And I know that I have been in what seems like a constant dialogue over the last number of years with GoAhead Ireland over the unreliability of services on the 45a, the 184, and the 185, routes which service the towns of Kilmacanogue, Greystones, Newtownmountkennedy, Enniskerry and Bray. Which led to a public apology at the Oireachtas Transport Committee this time last year. In the period from July 2021 to March 2022 alone, GoAhead were fined €526,000 for failing to deliver an adequate service.
Brady concluded:“The carbon tax levy unfairly impacts on the worse off in society. It will mostly affect motorists who are already hard-pressed attempting to deal with an unprecedented cost-of-living crisis. Motorists who have no alternative than to use dangerous, overcrowded roads such as the N11 and N81 which are long since overdue upgrades and improvements.
Yet, we have a Minister for Transport who has chosen to ignore the plight of ordinary motorists, and who instead is engaged in the pursuit of ideological objectives, which he is seeking to achieve by punishing the least well-off people on the roads of Wicklow.
It is wrong, it is unfair, and it needs to end.
We need to see an end to the carbon tax. We need to see major investment in roads such as the N11 and N81. And alongside this, we need to see the development of a comprehensive, wide reaching public transport system in the county, which will offer an accessible, affordable, and durable alternative to driving.”