Controversial ‘vanjaxed’ issue raised

As claims are made Inishowen’s turned in to a police state one TD has confirmed he’s taken the controversial ‘vanjaxed’ issue to the Dublin after being inundated with complaints over it.

Yesterday Donegal North East TD Joe McHugh confirmed he’s met with Minister Phil Hogan over the Government’s recent change in law on vans being taxed commercially when used privately.

Deputy McHugh says the new strict van taxing laws is a ‘Dublin solution to a Dublin problem’ - affecting hundreds of Inishowen van owners.

Recently the Journal reported a number of cars had been seized because drivers were caught driving commercially taxed vans outside of work hours.

But Deputy McHugh said for many rural people owning a van is a practical solution for carrying out farm duties as well as using it to transport their children to and from neighbouring towns.

He said: “It’s affecting so many people. Workers looking to drop their children off to school are being deeply affected by this.

“This is the biggest issue people are coming to me about at the minute.

“The reason it’s become a big problem for an area like Inishowen is because this was being exploited by people in large urban areas with people buying four by fours, like a Lexus Jeep - where you can take the seats out to the back - and pay a lower tax as a result, opposed to the cost to tax a Jeep which would be about 1300 euros.

“It’s a Dublin solution to a Dublin problem.

“Affordability is a big problem here and this issue is really concerning people in Inishowen.

“You could be a farmer looking to travel to a neighbouring farm at 10pm at night to collect some animal - now is that a social or work call? “

One angry man, who asked not to be named, said he uses his work van for a bit of farming as well as driving his children around.

He said: “This whole place has become one big police state. One minute you’re being stopped by the customs checking you’ve got VRT and the next the Gardai are pulling you over because your van is taxed one way instead of the other.

“It all boils down to collecting money at the end of the day and it’s not fair when you’re just trying to go about your business and earn a living.”