‘Progress needed on tackling illegal fuel waste’ – Donnelly
Crossmaglen SDLP Councillor Geraldine Donnelly has called for an inclusive and progressive approach to tackling the issue of illegal laundered fuel dumps. The call was made at the recent monthly meeting of Newry and Mourne District Council where Donnelly pressed that in the first instance the Council needs to call a meeting involving the PSNI, An Garda Síochána, NI Environment Agency, Louth County Council along with council officials and MP’s and MLA’s.
Speaking to Newry Times, Donnelly said: “The dumping of this illegal laundered fuel is costing ratepayers thousands of pounds every year. It has cost nearly £40,000 last month in removing the waste and these sums are coming straight from the rates of local people. We need to look at the issue with a cross border approach and I have asked that authorities north and south come together in one place to join up to tackle the dumping of the laundered fuel waste and also catching those responsible.”
Donnelly believes that the current approach is not working and that a new and more progressive strategy is required. “We need to look at the root of the problem and I see the two jurisdictions adding different colour dyes to rebated fuel as one of the problems. This creates an opportunity to change the colour of the diesel by these people that are responsible for the dumping of the waste. I believe we need to have an all-Ireland colourless diesel. The issue of fuel waste can then be put highly on the all-Ireland agenda where it rightfully should be due to the cross border illegalities currently happening.”
Concluding the Deputy Mayor added, “Further I see the high cost of fuel on our forecourts as the compounding factor creating the market for laundered fuel. It is ridiculous that people in South Armagh and across Newry and Mourne are paying the highest fuel costs in Europe. I have asked our SDLP MLA’s to take the case to the Assembly and further that our MP’s put the issue back on the agenda for the NI Affairs Committee meeting and that action is taken to alleviate the high cost of fuel here.”
After the monthly meeting, SDLP Group Leader, Connaire McGreevy commented: “Councillor Donnelly has shown leadership in the issue of illegal fuel waste and I welcome the ideas put forward. The issues arising from laundered fuel are five-fold; damage to the environment, higher rate bills, reduction in public services, loss of jobs at legitimate fuel companies and personal damage to people’s car engines.”
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