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Ó Snodaigh tables Bill to exempt voluntary rescue services from paying road tolls

6 July, 2017 - by Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD

Speaking today after tabling the Roads (Amendment) Bill 2017 in the Dáil, which exempts sea and river rescue teams, such as the RNLI and Civil Defence, from paying road tolls when participating in search and recovery missions, Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh said:

“In the immediate aftermath of the tragic loss of Rescue 116, which crashed off the coast of Mayo in March, I was contacted by volunteers who were participating in the efforts to recover the Coastguard crew of that doomed flight. 

“They were justifiably frustrated at having to pay road tolls when making the journey to and from Mayo in order to participate in what was a hazardous mission that they had bravely volunteered their time for.

“On a daily basis, a vehicle towing a boat travelling from Dublin to Mayo could be forced to pay in over €15 daily in road tolls for the privilege of participating in potentially lifesaving missions.

“When I raised this matter with Minister Shane Ross earlier in the year, he confirmed that only ambulance, fire brigade vehicles, and vehicles used by members of An Garda Síochána or the Defence Forces are exempt from having to pay road tolls.

“He went on to claim that exempting the voluntary and community sector from tolls would incur a cost to the Exchequer as the PPP toll operators that would have to be reimbursed for losses. His excuse for refusing to exempt voluntary sea and river search vehicles from having to pay road tolls is I believe, demeaning to the brave men and women who assist the State during emergencies and is why I have put forward this Bill.

“I firmly believe that any cost to the Exchequer incurred by exempting voluntary rescue service from paying road tolls is totally justified and indeed it is wrong that they are expected to pay road tolls on route to assisting in emergencies that occur in often very tragic and difficult circumstances.” 

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