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Conflicting solutions on how to solve diesel laundering crisis

The IFA is adamant that the lower price for agricultural diesel should be retained, despite the idea being opposed by the Irish Road Haulage Association (IRHA)

Feb 15 2012

Too high a price to pay? Farmers are unwilling to pay a higher price for agricultural diesel but hauliers claim the current system is “fuelling criminality”

Too high a price to pay? Farmers are unwilling to pay a higher price for agricultural diesel but hauliers claim the current system is “fuelling criminality”

The Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Environment and Transport has heard of the extent to which the country’s diesel laundering problem has gotten “out of control”.
 
David Blevins of the Irish Petrol Retailers Association (IPRA) told the committee hearing held at the start of this month, that washed agricultural diesel was previously only sold through unbranded filling stations but was now being sold through branded outlets. There were even suggestions that criminal networks were establishing filling stations to sell this fuel. 
 
Gerard Moran, assistant secretary at the Revenue Commissioners, said 32 filling stations had been closed in recent months after the licensing regime for road fuels was tightened. In total, nine diesel laundries containing 327,000 litres of oil were uncovered last year. 
 
Kieran Duffy, executive engineer at Monaghan County Council, highlighted “a dramatic increase” in the number of incidents where diesel laundering residues were dumped in the county. Some 37 incidents were recorded last year, with 10 incidents already occurring in January. 
 
However the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) president John Bryan rejected the suggestion that the lower price for agricultural diesel should be removed and a rebate system adopted for genuine farmers. 
 
“The move would also impose significant additional paperwork and compliance costs on farmers, and the proposal does not take into account the costs of policing and administering a rebate system,” he said. 
 
Bryan instead argued that “a robust, non-removable, marker for agricultural diesel” should be introduced, alongside “a verifiable ‘track and trace’ system of marked gas oil from port to end user”. 
 
However the Irish Road Haulage Association (IRHA) said it responded with "deep disappointment" to comments made to the committee that agricultural diesel should be continued. The organisation plans to forge ahead with a blockade of Dublin on 20 February, in order to “draw attention to the government’s willingness to fuel criminality and the resultant decimation of the haulage industry in Ireland".

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