Sinn Féin spokesperson on Transport, Darren O’Rourke, has said Eamon Ryan needs to stop abdicating his responsibilities as Minister for Transport and bring all possible pressure to bear to scrap toll road price hikes.
Teachta O’Rourke’s comments come following the Minister’s refusal this morning to be drawn on whether he would seek for the increases to be deferred or reduced.
The Meath East TD said:
“The Minister for Transport clearly has no interest in bringing toll operators to heel, and is abdicating his responsibilities.
“Eamon Ryan needs to take his head out of the clouds, and he must bring all possible pressure to bear on toll road operators and TII to scrap price hikes.
“It is also incredibly frustrating for commuters that we have the Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, acting as if he is in opposition and not sitting at the cabinet table, giving interviews saying that he would like to see tolls reduced, instead of picking up the phone to his government colleague to get him to do his job.
“These private companies are already making millions of euro in profit, so how can they, or Transport Infrastructure Ireland, justify increasing toll prices to their maximum permitted level?
“Just last month, for example, the M3 toll operator reported €11m in profit for the previous year.
“Eamon Ryan is the Minister for Transport and has responsibility for all road users, so he simply cannot ignore the valid concerns of motorists and hauliers.
“These are people who have no alternative to use these roads – nurses, teachers and Gardaí, driving to and from work – and they are already struggling with commuting costs with diesel and petrol at record-high levels.
“Many of these commuters are reliant on their private car as government after government have failed to put sustainable alternative transport options in place.
“In addition, any increase in costs for hauliers will also push food prices even higher, and it is incredible that Minister Ryan seems totally unphased by this at a time when food prices are already soaring.”