The Freight Transport Association Ireland (FTAI) Ireland believes the UK Government should grant Irish hauliers an exemption from the HGV Road User Levy for use on the A5 for HGVs transiting Northern Ireland, and has asked for the active support of the Minister for Transport, and the Oireachtas, in delivering this exemption.
Mr McDonnell added "With Irish taxpayers about to pour £50m into the A5 transit route from next year, it defies logic and fairness for the UK Government to ask Irish operators to pay a levy for using this transit route. The N2/A5 is a vital part of the road infrastructure for hauliers in the north-west, as a great many businesses in Donegal are totally dependent on the route for access to air freight and continental sea freight from Ireland."
FTAI has previously raised its concerns regarding the Levy for Irish hauliers, and called on the Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, Leo Varadkar, to strongly lobby his counterpart, Patrick McLoughlin MP, for a transit concession for hauliers using the A5 through Northern Ireland.
The Irish Government has recognised the importance of the A5 as a transit route for Irish hauliers by committing to substantial capital expenditure on the A5 upgrade, even though this is in another state. The DTTAS will spend £25 million per annum in 2015 and 2016 to upgrade this stretch of road; a sum which is close to the expected total to be taken on the UK Levy in those two years.
TDs were also asked to lobby for a transit concession for the A46/A509 route through Northern Ireland (for hauliers in South Donegal and North Sligo).