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Trucks on Merrion Square, Dublin, during a protest organised by the same group last November. Sam Boal
THE MORNING LEAD

Hauliers’ protest plans to put Dublin in ‘complete lockdown’ until fuel price demands are met

Commuters are being warned that Monday’s demonstration may cause significant disruption in the capital.

TRAFFIC ON MAJOR routes around Dublin city looks set to slow to a crawl on Monday as hauliers protesting against skyrocketing fuel prices have planned a major demonstration in the capital.

The protest plans for several convoys of vehicles – including trucks, tractors, vans, caravans and cars – to travel along five different motorways into Dublin city centre. 

It’s intended that demonstrators will park vehicles in disruptive locations in Dublin, with organisers saying they are prepared for the protest to last “over a week”. 

The protesters are gathering at locations on the M1, M4, M7 and close to the M11/M50 junction at 3am on Monday.

A pedestrian march gathering at the GPO on O’Connell Street is also expected to take place on Monday morning.

The Department of Transport said the potential impact on traffic and people’s ability to get to work and hospital appointments is a “cause for concern.” 

Gardaí are also monitoring developments surrounding the protest and are urging people to plan accordingly.

‘The People Of Ireland Against Fuel Prices’

The organisers are promoting the demonstration on the same Facebook page that was previously used to organise two similar protests late last year. Those protests caused significant traffic disruption around the capital. 

The group says the protest will continue until its demands are met. It has urged people who are taking part to “come prepared for at least one week, maybe even two.”

The planned move to keep the protest rolling over the course of several days would reflect prominent “trucker” demonstrations in other countries in recent months, most notably Canada.

Organisers are instructing protesters to bring heaters, marquees, tents and food. 

The group’s demands include price caps on petrol, diesel and home heating fuel, the scrapping of the carbon tax and the resignation of Transport Minister Eamon Ryan.

The organisers of the demonstration claim: “Dublin will be in complete lockdown and for as long as it takes untill [sic] our demands are agreed upon by Government!” 

Trucker protest 001 The group’s demands include price caps on fuel, the scrapping of the carbon tax and the resignation of Transport Minister Eamon Ryan. Sam Boal Sam Boal

The price caps the group are demanding are €1.10 per litre for petrol, €1.20 per litre for diesel, 65c per litre for green (agricultural) diesel and 65c per litre for home heating oil.

The most recent price survey from the AA found that the average price per litre of diesel was €1.90, while petrol was €1.82.

A quick survey from The Journal found the price of home heating oil ranging from €1.25 to €1.65 per litre, depending on the supplier and the amount of oil ordered.

The protesters say the demonstration was planned to coincide with school holidays to minimise disruption. They are encouraging anyone with appointments in Dublin to reschedule if possible.

They also appealed for food and beverages to sustain the demonstration and urged people taking part to support local businesses, noting that “they will be affected by the protest.”

People who attended the protests last year said increases in the cost of fuel had made operating a business in the haulage sector unsustainable. 

The group has rebranded itself as ‘The People Of Ireland Against Fuel Prices’. During previous protests it went by the name ‘Irish Truckers and Haulage Association Against Fuel Prices’.

The group regularly criticises Green Party leader Eamon Ryan and the carbon tax. It is calling for Ryan to resign as transport minister and carbon tax to be scrapped. 

The group did not respond to requests for comment and says it is not putting forward a spokesperson as it wants “the nation to be addressed” regarding fuel costs. 

“Majority of vehicles and drivers will be company owned and this is a big sacrifice financially and for the future of their business. Please show respect and show support.

“We want a peaceful protest so anyone who plans to cause trouble please stay at home,” the organisers said.

Carbon tax

Responding to the planned protest, a Green Party spokesperson said it is “keenly aware of the pressure that the rising cost of living is having on families, particularly those on low incomes.”

Trucker protest 019 Demonstrators on Dawson Street during last year's protests. Sam Boal Sam Boal

It said it has advocated a series of income supports and measures to help people struggling with rising costs including €200 electricity credit (which was applied at the start of this month), a cut in public transport fares from May and a payment for hauliers for each heavy goods vehicle they operate.

The spokesperson also said that the recent increase in the fuel allowance (from €28 to €33 per week) was funded by the carbon tax. 

“Halting the carbon tax would do more harm than good to low-income families as much of its proceeds goes towards tackling fuel poverty,” they said.

The other government parties also said their initiatives will help reduce the burden of rising fuel costs.

The Taoiseach said that the temporary grant scheme for hauliers was valued at €18 million.

“We will continue to examine what measures we can take to manage the impacts on low income households, as well as continuing to work closely with affected sectors,” the Fianna Fáil leader said.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said it’s estimated the carbon tax will add about €20 to the cost of filling a tank of home heating oil and €1.50 a month on gas bills. However, the Fine Gael leader said the government “will offset that”

The Department of Transport said it has had no contact from the organisers of the protest but it will continue to monitor developments. 

“If a protest proceeds, the potential impact on traffic and people’s ability to get to work, hospital appointments etc is a cause for concern. 

“We would recommend that anybody intending to travel on Monday would keep abreast of the news and plan accordingly,” a spokesperson for the department said.

The gardaí also urged people intending to travel through the Dublin region to plan accordingly.

“An Garda Síochána will have an appropriate and proportionate plan in place to monitor the protest,” the police force said.

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