Sinn Féin spokesperson on Transport Darren O’Rourke TD has responded to the VRT and motor tax changes announced in the Budget, saying they will disproportionately benefit wealthy drivers while hitting those who can’t afford to upgrade to low emission and electric vehicles.
Teachta O’Rourke said the Green Party, with the backing of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, had failed to learn from their previous experience in government and seem content with punishing people financially for not being able to afford greener alternatives.
Speaking this morning, the Meath East TD said;
“The announcements yesterday will have a major impact on VRT, motor tax and the price of fuel.
“These changes, dressed up as green announcements, are decisions that will disproportionately benefit wealthy drivers while hammering those who can’t afford to upgrade to low emission and electric vehicles. This is typified by the fact that many high end, low emission, executive cars including SUVs will significantly reduce in cost as the lowest rate of VRT reduces from 14% to 7%.
“Combined with the increases on petrol and diesel, the budget measures amount to an assault on motorists. This is particularly the case in rural Ireland where many are entirely dependent on their car as there are no other practical alternatives available.
“These increases will also hurt commuters who have been let down by successive governments due to their failure to provide affordable housing in Dublin, forcing many to commute given the lack of public transport options.
“In my own constituency of Meath, bus services are slow and inefficient, we have no train and, as a direct consequence, 81% of commuters leaving the county do so by car. If there was a train, people would take it. If public buses ran on time and were reliable, people would take them.
“Those who can afford an electric car can now easily avoid the carbon tax, pay less motor tax and pay less VRT on a new car.
“Most people would love to upgrade to an electric car, but the cost means it is way out of their price range.
“A quick search on Done Deal reveals there are just 76 electric cars available for sale under the price of €10,000 – so the supply of affordable cars simply isn’t there.
“I know Minister Eamon Ryan thinks people in rural Ireland can all simply share cars, but 76 affordable electric cars won’t go far between a few million people.
“What are people supposed to do? Where are they supposed to get €40,000 you need to buy a new electric car?
“The Green Party, with the backing of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, seem content on punishing people financially for not being able to afford greener alternatives. In the process they’re doing untold damage to the climate movement.”