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Divisions Trucker protest over rise in fuel prices causes major traffic delays at Dublin Port

The move led to criticism by the IRHA, which said it could not see where any gains were made by the breakaway Facebook group

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Trucks from the Irish Truckers and Haulage Association Against Fuel Prices on the M1 yesterday as they wait to use the Port Tunnel

Trucks from the Irish Truckers and Haulage Association Against Fuel Prices on the M1 yesterday as they wait to use the Port Tunnel

Trucks from the Irish Truckers and Haulage Association Against Fuel Prices on the M1 yesterday as they wait to use the Port Tunnel

Truck drivers targeting Dublin Port yesterday in protest at rising fuel prices ended up causing massive delays to other hauliers trying to get to and from ferries.

The move led to criticism by the Irish Road Haulage Association (IRHA), which said it could not see where any gains were made by the breakaway Facebook group, which calls itself the Irish Truckers and Haulage Association Against Fuel Prices.

There were noticeably far fewer trucks than at a previous protest which took place last month, and this time they left the city centre streets of Dublin alone and moved their anger toward the docks.

On their way to the city from gathering points on motorways yesterday morning, a handful of trucks caused temporary disruptions on the M1 southbound and arrived at the main port entrance at Promenade Road, where they tried to block the entrance and exit.

However, gardaí kept one lane of traffic open in each direction until the drivers blocked those too, not allowing any traffic into the port and staggering the traffic exiting it.

Gardaí and the Dublin Port Company then directed port traffic to the Alexandra Road entrance and exit, but a number of protesting truck drivers then carried out stoppages there similar to the ones on Promenade Road, and by 2pm it was taking an hour to drive out of the Port.

Traffic destined for the port backed up to such an extent that the Port Tunnel's south bore was closed for a time. But the main victims of yesterday's protest were truck drivers.

There was a sense of frustration among the protesters at the lack of numbers who had turned up.

The group has no spokesperson and is not recognised by the IRHA, which has represented truck drivers since 1973.

Speaking about the protest, IRHA president Eugene Drennan said he could not see how truck drivers causing inconvenience to other truck drivers was going to achieve an aim.

"I find it hard to see the quantum of gain when the people most affected by the actions are truck drivers, transport companies and the haulage industry," he told the Herald.

The IRHA is currently in negotiations with the Government on a number of issues, including rising fuel prices.

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One of the drivers at yesterday's protest, named Stephen, drives a recovery truck that he uses to collect people who have broken down. He said the Government has not listened to calls for something to be done about high fuel prices.

"They haven't heard us at all, or listened to us. We've got no results, which is very hard. At the end of the day we're going to sink here," he said.

"We're the people that's going to go down.

"We can't keep putting fuel in these trucks every week. I'm self-employed, and putting €750 to €800 a week into a small truck that's only three and a half tonnes, trying to recover people that have broken down on the roads.

"It's just not fair. I only opened my business on the first day of lockdown.

"Now I'm just like... I can't make it any more.

"Fuel has gone up about 30pc, realistically.

"So it's just hard to make it work at the end of a week.

"You're paying more to the Government than you're paying yourself at the end of the week.

"It's just not fair," Stephen added.

The protest ended last night shortly before 6pm, as all roads reopened, but heavy traffic ensued.

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