A meeting of local authority members from across Ireland has
supported a call from Sinn Féin Councillor Niall O'Sullivan for the
government to abolish V.A.T on safety equippment for motorcylists and
other road users.
Speaking at a recent conference of the Association
of Municiple Authorities of Ireland
(A.M.A.I), Cllr O'Sullivan, who is a member of Passage Town Council,
stated: "Road safety has become one of the main issues facing the
country today. Agencies such as the Gardai and the Road Safety
Authority have made some progress in reducing the number of accidents
and deaths in recent years. However one statistic remains constant and
even increases. This is the number of motorcycle accidents.
Motorcyclists make up a minority of road users, yet they have a higher
proportion of headline accidents."
"In recent times there has been a large increase in the use of this
economical and environmentally friendly form of transport. Some are
leisure and lifestyle enthusiasts, others use it as a means to beat
traffic congestion. They are and will remain the most vulnerable users
of our roads."
"Motor cyclists depend on their safety equipment in the event of an
accident, whatever the cause. The imposition of V.A.T at the standard
rate of 21% on this equipment makes the cost prohibitive: V.A.T on a
helmet can add between €50 and €200 to its retail price. A
reduction or abolition of V.A.T on vital safety gear such as
helmets, gloves, boots and armored clothing could mean the difference
between a rider choosing to buy the best gear conforming to the highest
C.E standards, or using cheaper equipment with lower impact and
abrasion qualities which can fail to protect the rider in an accident
even at low speeds."
"V.A.T rates are controlled by the E.U commission but I would appeal
that the A.M.A.I conference to pressurize our national government
to abolish this unfair tax as part of its road safety programme. I
would also include as part of this appeal, that other safety equipment
such as car baby seats, cyclists' helmets and pedestrian high
visibility vests be exempt from V.A.T. It is time to end this unjust "
Tax on safety"."
Cllr O'Sullivan's motion on the issue was passed by the conference.