Sinn Féin spokesperson on Transport and Communications, Martin Kenny TD, has called on the government to rethink their approach towards motorists, after Budget 2024 failed to defer the upcoming toll increases.
Motorists have already taken on one toll increase in July, and are likely to face another before the year end, according to Junior Minister Jack Chambers.
Teachta Kenny said:
“The toll increase that came into effect in July had originally been due to come into effect in January. It was deferred after a Sinn Féin motion calling on the government not to continue with it because motorists were struggling.
“We then had the typical kite-flying by Fianna Fáil over the summer stating they would consider a deferral of a second increase, which is expected in December.
“True to form for this government, no deferral of the impending toll increase was announced today. As part of Sinn Féin’s Alternative budget for transport, one of my key priorities was including a deferral of the coming toll increase until such a time that these toll contracts can be renegotiated.
“The toll contracts were a bad deal when Fianna Fáil negotiated them, and they are a bad deal now. In the midst of a cost-of-living crisis, those travelling in their cars for work, education or to hospital appointments are being targeted. These are people and families with no alternative means of transport, they have to use their cars and these toll roads.
“Budgets are about prioritising, and I prioritised a small easing for motorists and hauliers, because they have been continuously targeted by an overzealous Green minister. Sinn Féin committed €31m to put a stop to toll increases. Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil, and the Greens committed nothing.
“I am appealing to the Minister for Transport and his Junior Minister to seriously reconsider this. This government is continuing to punish ordinary people and families with no alternatives who are struggling through a cost-of-living crisis.”