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Eugene Drennan is the new President of the Irish Road Haulage Association (IRHA). Photograph by John Kelly

Haulage chief ‘can’t rule out’ protests over emission goals

THE Ennis-based President of the Irish Road Haulage Association (IRHA) has said protests by his members cannot be ruled out, in the coming weeks, over proposed cuts to the emissions of the transport sector.
Eugene Drennan said that while the haulage industry accepted the need for change, members are now “at breaking point”.
Mr Drennan’s association expressed alarm at some of the proposals recently agreed by The Climate Change Advisory Council. Under the ‘climate budget’ agreed on Bank Holiday Monday, emissions must drop by 95 million tonnes between 2021 and 2030. The blueprint outlines steps to meet the government’s target of cutting emissions in more than half by 2030 and net-zero emissions by 2050.
“We have already contributed €73 million in Carbon Tax last year,” Mr Drennan said. “We’ll contribute over a €100 million next year. We’ve been paying carbon taxes now for about five years and fuel is already taxed to the hilt here.”
He added that IRHA members would hold meetings in the coming weeks to discuss the fall-out of the advisory council’s emissions recommendations, as well as the “astronomical costs” facing the sector.
“Behind each haulage company is a family, trying to bring itself through life,” Mr Drennan said.
“We have no choice but to use diesel. It’s the only fuel available in the far flung places we travel to and can give us the torc to pull the loads we do.
“We cannot use the fuels like hydrogen. It would mean reductions in the numbers that could travel together on ships. We would not be able to travel on ships in the numbers needed.”
Mr Drennan said members are already struggling with rising fuel costs, driver shortages and the Northern Ireland Protocol. “We are caught with something every week and our costs are at the highest level they have been -ever in the history of transport,” he said.
The Ennis man said he had raised the issue with Tanaiste Leo Varadkar on his visit to Ennis last week.
“He received my remarks very well,” he said and expressed hope that the government might provide more support to hauliers in meeting emissions targets.

About Fiona McGarry

Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald. Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti. She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at NUI Galway. If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at fmcgarry@clarechampion.ie or telephone 065 6864146.

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