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toll charges

Taoiseach says transport minister examining 'how best to deal' with rise in toll charges

Eamon Ryan said earlier this week that he is reluctant to reduce toll charges.

TRANSPORT MINISTER EAMON Ryan is “examining the situation” of toll increases, Taoiseach Micheál Martin has told the Dáil. 

On Thursday, toll road operator Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) announced that it would be hiking toll prices on nine roads in line with inflation, with the M50 toll set to rise by 20 or 30 cent.

The issue was discussed between the three coalition leaders on Monday evening, where Ryan committed to asking his department for options on how to tackle the cost of rising toll charges.

Ryan said earlier this week that he is reluctant to reduce toll charges if it means taking away funding for public transport or road maintenance. 

When raised with the Taoiseach today, Martin said the transport minister is “examining these issues in terms of how best we can deal with that situation”.

The Taoiseach said toll revenue is generally used for motorway maintenance, including maintenance of the wider national road network.

He added:

The Minister told me this morning that many Deputies have requested an increase in resources for roads in Cavan-Monaghan and the entire country. It is a balancing of that. The other point is that we are in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis; we get that. Therefore, the Minister is examining the situation.

However, a spokesperson for Ryan said that there was no timeline set as to when solutions might be put forward and no meeting with the TII has been scheduled. 

Should the Government step in, they could have subsidise toll operators to the tune of €25 million, which would be “a very significant amount of money”, added the minister’s spokesperson. 

Sinn Féin’s Matt Carthy said it is incredible that the transport minister was aware of the proposal to hike toll charges and he failed to immediately stop them. 

He said the priority should now be to support workers and businesses facing a cost-of-living crisis, stating that certainly the Government should not be worsening that crisis by hiking the cost of getting to work. 

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