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Thursday, 1st December 2022

Tolls U-turn welcome but does not go far enough – Munster

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Sinn Féin TD Imelda Munster.

Sinn Féin TD Imelda Munster 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.

Deputy Munster raised the matter in The Dáil warning that the deferral does not go far enough and the government is instead simply engaging in their seemingly favourite pastime of kicking the can down the road.

“The government must address the issue to ensure people in Louth are protected from unfair price hikes” she said:

“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. 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. 

"I have opposed the M1 Toll at Drogheda since Day one and voiced my opposition to it and all the price increases in every available forum.  I have been raising this issue here since I was elected in 2016 because Drogheda is the only town in Ireland with tolled slip roads.

“These have had a detrimental effect on the town. You have to pay a toll to get from one side of the town to the other, or from a retail park on one side of the town to the other side. If you do not pay it, you spend 40 minutes in traffic because lorries, HGVs and vans all drive through the town to avoid tolls. I have long campaigned for the removal of the slip road toll, but successive Governments have done nothing about it to date.

“The government needs to recognise we are living in a cost-of-living crisis, and workers and businesses in Louth 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 opposing the latest price hike in tolls. It shouldn’t have taken our motion for the government to feel pressured into taking action.

“Motorists and hauliers in Louth 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 Louth 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.”

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