Offaly taxpayers subsidising purchases of high-end electric Mercs and BMWs
Laois-Offaly Sinn Féin TD Brian Stanley says that the grant of €10,000 towards the purchase of new Electric Vehicles (EV’s) has benefited people in large cities who are doing short journeys more than workers or families in rural counties like Laois and Offaly.
“I raised this with senior officials from the Department of Environment and the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) when they attended the Public Accounts Committee (PAC)," he stated.
"While I favour grants being given, the scheme thus far has predominately been to the benefit those who live in areas who have the option to avail of public transport. The grant is also being used to subsidise the purchase of luxury vehicles as opposed to the purchase of average size cars.
“Figures I obtained show that last year just 153 grants for EV purchase were paid out to motorists in Laois with even a smaller amount paid out in Offaly with145, while there were 5,087 paid out in Dublin.
"The reality is that there are still issues with the range an EV will travel with a fully charged battery. People in rural counties generally have to travel longer distances to work and sufficient charging infrastructure is just not available at this point in time. Department of Transport figures show that there are only 10 public charging points in Laois with eight in Offaly while Dublin has 159," he added.
“The other issue I raised is the type of vehicles being purchased with grant aid. Last year, 44 Jaguars, 438 Mercedes Benz, 316 Land Rovers and a whopping 1,467 BMWs were subsidised by the taxpayer. This is absolute madness and makes no economic or environmental sense. Anyone that can afford to buy these luxury vehicles should not be subsidised by the taxpayer.
"Up to the middle of last year, there was no upward limit on the price or model of EVs that could be purchased with the grant. A cap is now in place of €60,000 and above this no grant aid is available. While this is welcome it does not go far enough. This cap needs to be reduced further so as to incentivise the purchase of more modest vehicles and to be of greater benefit to those on average incomes. I am calling on the Government to change the grant system to reflect this."
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