Haulier protest in Dublin is a ‘body blow’ for retailers

Haulier protest in Dublin is a ‘body blow’ for retailers

Retailers have warned that today’s haulier protest in Dublin against rising fuel prices is a ‘body blow’ at a crucial time of year for sales.

The Irish Truckers and Haulage Association Against Fuel Prices is holding a day-long demonstration in Dublin, following a similar protest last month.

Duncan Graham, Managing Director of Retail Excellence, said every industry is under fire at present and retailers have some sympathy for the plight of the hauliers – but that sympathy is rapidly running out.

“At this time of the year, retailers take in approximately €200 million every day, and it beggars belief that one group would act in this way to restrict access to the capital city and in doing so, imperil livelihoods at a time when every trading day counts,” he said.

He said that Dublin had been particularly badly affected by Covid restrictions and that this protest comes at the worst possible time.

“Footfall in Dublin city centre is down by 30% on 2019 levels, as people continue to steer clear of the capital and instead shop online or in suburban shopping centres.

“This action by truckers and hauliers is a body-blow which will drive another nail into the coffin of many city centre retailers who are in desperation mode now.”

Mr Graham said in any normal year, the Christmas period is critical for retailers.

“This year – after months of enforced closures, decreased footfall, the increased cost of trade, severe weather disruption and having to contend with the same fuel prices that hauliers are protesting against – it will be the difference between survival and closure,” he said.

The protests call for “lower fuel costs at the pump and at home”.

Drivers who participated in the protest also expressed concern over fuel rebate levels, driver shortages, taxes and other operational costs.

Simon Harris said Cabinet will consider energy proposals on Tuesday. Speaking on The Week in Politics, he said there are number of ways the Government can help, and inflationary pressure is expected to ease next year.

Mr Harris added that a “splinter group” should not blockade the motorways and that this protest is not required by hauliers.