Sinn Féin TD for Dublin South West Seán Crowe has said government TDs must be upfront and confirm if they back toll road price increases.

Teachta Crowe said the government must stop abdicating their responsibilities and do everything possible to ensure that toll road price hikes are stopped.

Teachta Crowe’s comments come following Transport Minister Eamon Ryan’s refusal to be confirm if he would seek for the increases to be deferred or reduced.

Teachta Crowe said:

“Toll road price hikes will hit drivers’ pockets at a time when people are already struggling financially due to the cost of living crisis.

“These increases cannot go ahead. I am calling on government TDs in this constituency Teachtaí Lahart, Brophy, and Duffy to come forward and say if they back these price hikes or not. They must be upfront about whether they will stand up for people hit by these increases or not.

“These private companies are already making millions of euro in profit, so how can they, or Transport Infrastructure Ireland, justify increasing toll prices to their maximum permitted level? Just last month, for example, the M3 toll operator reported €11m in profit for the previous year.

“Eamon Ryan is the Minister for Transport and has responsibility for all road users. It is scandalous that he knew about these planned price increases in advance, yet failed to act to protect hard pressed motorists.

“These are people who have no alternative to use these roads – nurses, teachers and Gardaí across all the professions and none driving to and from work – and they are already struggling with commuting costs with diesel and petrol at record-high levels.

“Many of these commuters are reliant on their private car as government after government have failed to put sustainable alternative transport options in place.

“In addition, I am concerned that any increase in costs for hauliers risks pushing up food prices even higher, and it is incredible that Minister Ryan seems totally unphased by this at a time when food prices are already soaring.

“These price hikes cannot be allowed to go ahead at a time when people are already struggling to keep on top of costs. The government must stand up for people hit by the cost of living and do everything possible to help people whose finances are already pushed to the brink.”