7.10.07 - Call to end "tax on safety"

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.

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