Truckers’ protest in Dublin city centre comes to an end

Conor Feehan, Seoirse Mulgrew, Ciara O'Loughlin

A protest by lorry drivers that blocked the East Link bridge in Dublin today has come to an end.

Dublin City Council’s traffic management centre tweeted this evening that all approaches to the Point Roundabout are now open as the protest has ended.

This includes the Tom Clarke Bridge/East Link and the Sean Moore Roundabout to East Wall/Sheriff Street.

A small group of hauliers, who had been protesting at rising fuel prices, left Dublin just after 6.30pm after staying put and blocking traffic in the port area since the early morning.

A spokesperson for An Garda Síochána said they continuously monitored a demonstration in the Dublin city centre region throughout the day.

"The demonstration has since concluded,” they added.

“An Garda Síochána will continue to provide update traffic information on our social media channels if required.”

Earlier today, gardaí issued parking tickets to truckers involved in the protest that brought traffic around Dublin Port and the 3 Arena to a standstill.

Such tickets do not carry penalty points, however, it is understood that the gardaí were keeping this option open if the drivers did not move along.

Truckers demanded that Transport Minister Eamon Ryan resign and said they wanted diesel capped at €1.20 a litre and petrol at €1.10.

Fuel is currently selling for around €2 a litre amid spiralling inflation and the protesters said they would not move until their demands were met.

However a planned meeting point for protesters on foot at the GPO, from where they were to set off at 9am for the 3 Arena, was very quiet when visited by Independent.ie earlier today.

The People of Ireland Against Fuel Prices group has said hauliers are in “crisis” and companies are struggling to stay afloat.

The group had warned participants that the protest would last a “couple of days minimum but expect to be there for a week”.

Independent.ie has contacted the Garda press office and Mr Ryan’s office for comment.

During the day, some truck drivers remained in their parked cabs while others stood in groups on the road.

Gardaí at the scene warned drivers to move their vehicles from the public road or they would be issued fines for obstruction.

Many of them refused and told gardai they would stay "for the rest of the day".

All drivers were issued financial penalties for obstructing a public road and others could face penalty points for refusing to comply with a Garda direction.

They were warned they could face further penalties if they continued to refuse to move.

A number of protesters left the area in the mid-morning after the group voted on whether to end the protest.

One protester, who did not want to have his name published, said they were protesting for the entire country over rising fuel costs.

"It has just spiralled out of control. We are not even doing this for the lorry drivers, we are doing this for the people of Ireland because of the fact that Kerosene and all that has gone to that price," he said.

"People should be following us here and helping us out as best they can. Our costs have trebled and it is not sustainable any more and cannot be done any more."

Demonstrators refused to say how long the protest would continue.

"It is the way to go because there is no other way to do it. We can't find any other way to do it," he added.

"Eamon Ryan and the Government is not listening to us so what choice do we have? We don't want to be disrupting people.

"I just had to stand up with everyone else. Why should I not do it?

"I may as well be here with everyone else."

In a post on social media this morning the group issued their list of demands, including drastic caps on fuel prices as well as Eamon Ryan to step down as transport minister with immediate effect.

"Our demands are as follows and we will not be moving until they are agreed upon,” the group wrote.

Their demands were listed as:

- Petrol capped at €1.10 per litre

- Diesel capped at €1.20 per litre

- Green diesel and home heating oil capped at 65c per litre

“These figures are inclusive of Vat and and are for everyone at home and at the pump!” the group said.

- Carbon tax to be scrapped

- Eamon Ryan to step down with immediate effect

"This will benefit every home, business in Ireland,” the group claimed.

Irish truckers and hauliers had said they would bring Dublin city to a “standstill” this week in protest against rising fuel costs and that the demonstration will be one “for the history books”, after several similar events late last year.

Demonstrators were previously known as The Irish Trucker and Haulage Association against Fuel Prices. They are not affiliated with the official Irish Road Haulage Association.

On social media the group said: “All Vehicles are welcome.

Cars, Trucks, Buses, Vans, Tractors, Motorbikes, Taxis, Camper Vans etc.

Come prepared for at least 1 week maybe even 2‼️

Bring heaters, Marquees, Tents, Food etc‼️”

They asked the public to support them, adding: “We will need food and refreshments, we will also use local shops and restaurauts to support them too.”

“There is it no turning back, we shouldn't even have to do it!!” they said.

“Once we are in we stop and we do not move until our demands are met!!”

The group added: “Remember this is for the people of Ireland and we will all benefit.”

They said the majority of vehicles and drivers are company-owned and taking part in the protest was a big sacrifice financially and for the future of their businesses.

"We want a peaceful protest so anyone who plans to cause trouble please stay at home,” they warned.

“We hope you all understand and we are sorry for the inconvenience caused in advance.”

They concluded: “Let it be a week to remember and one for the history books”, adding in the names of Leo Varadkar, Micheál Martin, Eamon Ryan, Mary Lou McDonald, Independent TD Richard O'Donoghue, Michael Healy Rae and Sinn Féin finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty.”

“Now is the time to stand with the people for the future of Ireland,” the group said.

Protesters gathered at locations on the M1, M4, M7 and close to the M11/M50 junction at 3am this morning.

In a social media post this morning, the group encouraged those with vehicles to head for Dublin via the Port Tunnel and then to the 3 Arena roundabout, with those on foot setting out from the GPO for the 3 Arena for about 10.30am.

In a post on Facebook, the group said: “We are a group of truck companies struggling to stay afloat and have come to together along with farmers, bus companies, taxis and the general public to protest as the price of being in business and the cost of living is not affordable.

“We are all in crisis. In relation to the protest, Dublin and surrounding areas of Dublin will be at a standstill and the protest will not just be a one-day protest it will be a long-drawn-out process until our demands are met.”

The group has condemned the Government’s plan of introducing a carbon tax on May 1.

“How are people to get school or work? How are the elderly and disadvantaged supposed to pay for these increases? Not just diesel, petrol but electricity and gas. It’s atrocious the situations families are going to find themselves in, choosing between food, heat and transport.

"It’s 2022 in a first world country, we can and need to do better,” the statement said.

“Our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents did not work hard all their lives and pay tax for us to live in poverty. The Government have the power to help, and we need it now.”

The group said the protest was “for the people of Ireland” and that everyone will “benefit”.

They asked people to “show respect and support”.

“We want a peaceful protest so anyone who plans to cause trouble please stay at home. We hope you all understand, and we are sorry for the inconvenience caused in advance,” the group said.

Speaking on Monday morning, the chief executive officer of the DublinTown business group, Richard Guiney, said businesses are still fragile following the pandemic and further disruption was not needed.

“Obviously there’s an element of wait and see what transpires. Certainly, protests and disruption is not really what the city needs, we’re still in a fragile state coming out of the pandemic. So, there is concern about what the impacts are going to be,” he told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

“Our view is that we understand obviously, businesses and indeed our customers and staff are experiencing inflation. It’s obviously not something that’s welcome, particularly energy costs increasing the way they are.

“But I suppose what we could be saying is this is something that we need to work together on rather than having one sector impact negatively on another. Particularly when so many businesses are vulnerable and the employment that they generate is still fragile.”


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