IRISH HAULIERS ARE waiting to see if a road tax that they oppose will be enforced in Northern Ireland.
They have been calling for the Irish Government to seek an exemption for them on the new levy, which was introduced today in the UK.
Alternatively, they want the money they spend on the charge to be refunded.
Eoin Gavin of the Irish Road Haulage Association said that though the charge was introduced in the UK today, the IRHA is “not sure if it’s being enforced in the north”.
He described the levy as “the UK government putting a tax on Irish trade” and said the association believes that jobs will be lost and the economy will be impacted by hauliers registering abroad.
He said they are “still hopeful” the UK Government will derogate the roads in Northern Ireland and exempt them from the charge.
He said that the issue has been discussed between Taoiseach Enda Kenny and British Prime Minister David Cameron, and that Transport Minister Leo Varadkar has met his counterparts in the UK on the issue.
“We are now waiting on the Assembly in Northern Ireland to make a stand on it,” said Gavin. He said they hope that Sinn Féin and Martin McGuinness will come out against it.
The IRHA is to appear before an Oireachtas Committee on the issue tomorrow.
Gavin said they also want Environment Minister Phil Hogan to change the road tax structure in the Republic of Ireland so it is the same as in Northern Ireland. “It costs €4000 to tax a truck in Dundalk and £600 in Newry,” he said.
The levy is for heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) which weigh 12 tonnes or more.
All UK-registered vehicles will pay levy costs from 1 April, while vehicles registered abroad must make levy payments before entering the UK. Failure to pay the levy will be a criminal offence.