[Sinn Fein]

30 November 2000

`Brit-disc' for truckers must be opposed - Ó Caoláin TD

British Government proposals to introduce a so-called `Brit-disc' for road hauliers travelling through the North and Britain must be resisted by the Irish Government, according to Sinn Fein TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin.

The British Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, has proposed a 750 charge per year for a disc allowing passage for truckers through British jurisdiction. Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

``The proposed `Brit-disc' would be in clear breach of EU freedom of movement regulations and would hit truckers in the 26 Counties hardest of all. It is estimated that 80 per cent of truckers from this jurisdiction travel to or pass through the Six Counties and/or Britain. Trade with other EU countries is predominantly by that route.

``The Irish Road Haulage Association has stated that the `Brit-disc' would impose crippling extra costs on the trucking industry, with approximately 16,000 vehicles operating out of this jurisdiction subject to the charge.

``This proposal would be a penalty on Irish cross-border trade and international trade. It must be strongly resisted by the Irish Government. I  will be raising the issue in the Dáil and will be urging the relevant ministers and the Taoiseach to act decisively against the proposal.''  ENDS

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