Since 1999 various EU directives have set common rules on distance-related tolls and time-based user charges (vignettes) for HGVs for the use of certain infrastructure. It is open to any Member State to introduce road use charges if it wishes. Road charging is an important revenue source option in relation to funding of roads infrastructure, particularly in the context of ensuring that out of state hauliers contribute to the costs of a country’s road infrastructure.
In respect of the United Kingdom's introduction of road charging, I have been in contact with my counterpart there, in response to the initial public consultation and more recently, to point out the difficulties this will create for Republic of Ireland hauliers, especially those in the border area. Furthermore, I asked that the contribution made to date, and planned future contributions, by the Government to road infrastructure costs in Northern Ireland (namely to the A5 in Northern Ireland) should be taken into account and some provision be made for Irish-registered HGVs. The UK Minister has responded, indicating a willingness to consider certain regional cross-border specified roads in Northern Ireland. He has not proposed inclusion of the A5. However I have yet to receive a formal proposal from him in this regard.
My officials continue to liaise with their UK counterparts on this issue. Any influence that the Deputy can bring to bear on the UK authorities through his party colleagues in the Northern Ireland Executive or those elected to the House of Commons would of course be welcome.