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Red alert Tyrone chairman filmed pumping red diesel in car at filling station

Fuel-ish: Gaelic boss silent after filling up on the cheap

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Tyrone County Chairman Michael Kerr

Tyrone County Chairman Michael Kerr

Tyrone County Chairman Michael Kerr

The Chairman of Tyrone GAA Michael Kerr has been caught "red handed" putting red diesel into his car.

Kerr - who is the Chairman of the Tyrone County Board - was filmed appearing to fill his car from a filling station in Carrickmore, Co Tyrone recently.

He was filmed in March this year by a member of the public taking the pump - which is clearly marked 'red diesel' - while wearing a surgical mask.

The footage is sure to rock Tyrone GAA as the county began life after legendary manager Mickey Harte last night as the senior football team took on Donegal in an Allianz National League match in Omagh.

Kerr, who has been the chairman for four years now was instrumental in bringing in new manager Feargal Logan after the county executive had declined Harte's request for a one-year extension to his appointment last November.

One Tyrone source told the Sunday World: "Lots of people take the chance with red diesel but when you have a prominent position like County Board Chairman you should know better.

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Michael Kerr filling his car with red diesel

Michael Kerr filling his car with red diesel

Michael Kerr filling his car with red diesel

"It's broad daylight and he's filling his car with something he's not supposed to be using because it's cheaper. Everyone hates the price of fuel but we have to pay it."

According to HMRC it is an offence to use red diesel in vehicles which use public roads except for farm or construction machinery.

Red diesel costs around half of the price of regular diesel meaning a tank that would normally be filled for £60 can make a saving of £30.

We contacted the station where Mr Kerr was seen filling up his car and they informed us the price yesterday for a litre of red diesel was 64.9p compared to regular white diesel which was on sale for £1.26.9.

Red diesel fuel is only allowed to be used in off-road vehicles and machinery. It is used in many industries, most prominently construction and farming.

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Tyrone Chairman Michael Kerr filling his car with red diesel

Tyrone Chairman Michael Kerr filling his car with red diesel

Tyrone Chairman Michael Kerr filling his car with red diesel

It's the same as regular diesel, but with a red dye added to it to prevent it being used on road-going vehicles.

Anyone caught using red diesel in their car can be heavily fined and could have their vehicle seized.

The role of county chairperson is demanding and is done so on a voluntary basis and it's understood Mr Kerr is employed by the public sector.

We approached Michael Kerr for comment, but he did not respond. We wanted to know if he was aware that using red diesel in a vehicle on a public road was an offence.

Initially he told us, when we contacted him on the phone, he couldn't speak as he was with someone but would talk to us the following day.

We were then contacted by his solicitor but despite sending a detailed email request on Wednesday evening, there was no response.

The film footage had been seen by several people in Tyrone and one man who received the footage told the Sunday World it was "out of order".

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Dipping for diesel

Dipping for diesel

Dipping for diesel

They said: "He's the county chairman for goodness sake, why should he pay half the price of filling his car?

"It's out of order, he has the top job in the GAA in Tyrone and this is embarrassing."

The PSNI often accompany HMRC and help as they set-up check-points to 'dip' for the use of red diesel.

One recent operation saw two drivers in Magherafelt caught out and ordered to pay significant fines of £550 each.

The HMRC states that using illicit fuel robs the government of tax revenue that is used to fund vital public services and puts those businesses that follow the rules at a commercial disadvantage.

The UK Government is currently in the process of bringing in legislation that will reduce further the legal use of red diesel in an effort to cut carbon emissions.

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Red-faced: Police checking for red diesel

Red-faced: Police checking for red diesel

Red-faced: Police checking for red diesel

Red diesel accounts for around 15% of all the diesel used in the UK and is responsible for the production of nearly 14 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.

Michael Kerr was voted in as Tyrone County Board Chairman in 2017 after a three-way contest.

The Eire Og Carrickmore club man defeated Roisin Jordan, who held the chair for three years, and Cookstown's Damian Harvey for the Red Hand County's top post.

Harvey, with 54 votes to Kerr's 50, was ahead after the first round of voting, with the outgoing chair on 46, but it was Kerr who took the lion's share of Jordan's redistributed votes to comfortably win the election 78-66.

Eire Og tweeted at the time of his appointment: "Congratulations to our club member Michael Kerr on being elected the new Tyrone GAA County chairman. This is a historic moment as this is the first ever chairperson from a hurling club in Tyrone! We wish you all the best in your new role, we are all behind you."

Kerr, who had served three years as vice-chairman, said in the aftermath of his win: "I'll be sitting down with the other officers over the next couple of days, and we'll draft the way forward. And hopefully as a county we'll all go forward together, the whole of GAA Tyrone.

He added, "I'm honoured to have been elected by the people, and I hope I do them proud in the way I handle myself over the next year as chair of the county board."

Kerr was praised across the board for pledging the GAA's support to efforts to fight coronavirus and help hard-up communities at the start of the pandemic.

"The statutory agencies haven't the wherewithal to deliver, but we will deliver," he told the Irish News in March 2020.

"The GAA is at the heart of the community. It has reach into every nook and cranny of our communities.

"The statutory agencies do not have that reach, they have limited resources, whereas we seem to have infinite resources, and we're infinitely resourceful."

"It doesn't matter what problem is thrown up to the GAA, we will resource it and come back with a response.

"We are there for everybody, and we will deliver for the good of the community.

"This is when the communities will be seen at their best, and every community will rise to the occasion.

"It's unknown territory for everybody, but if we stick together, we'll all get through it, and we'll come out stronger and better at the end of it."

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