Written Answers. - Petrol Prices.

Dermot Ahern

Question:

170 Mr. D. Ahern asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if his attention has been drawn to the widening differential between the price of petrol in the North of Ireland and the Republic; if he has any plans to rectify the situation which is having an even more deterimental effect on the Border economy than heretofore; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

I would refer the Deputy to my reply in this House to Question No. 120 on 5 December 1989 — columns 99-100 of the Official Report — where I outlined factors leading to a disparity in petrol prices here and in Northern Ireland. Most significant among these factors is the impact of the different rates of taxation levied in the respective areas.

As there are no set official prices for petrol in Northern Ireland I cannot meaningfully comment on the suggestion in the Deputy's question of a widening of the differential between prices here and those obtaining in Northern Ireland.

The Deputy will be aware that in replying in this House to Questions Nos. 84 to 89 and 91 on 12 December 1989 — columns Nos. 935-937 of the Official Report — the Minister for Finance indicated that problems about petrol and cross-Border purchasing generally are being taken into account in the ongoing discussions on EC tax harmonisation.