The south bore of the Dublin Tunnel has been closed due to congestion as truckers stage a protest in the capital on Monday.
Major traffic tailbacks formed in and out of Dublin Port in the afternoon as members of a truckers’ group took part in a rolling demonstration over high fuel prices.
As The Irish Times reports, widespread traffic disruption is expected on major routes around Dublin on Monday with a truckers’ group staging a rolling protest over high fuel prices.
Protesting truckers are blocking the road to Dublin Port and say that they will only allow emergency vehicles through. It means that all freight and passenger vehicles going to Dublin Port will be stopped.
It comes as protesters from the haulage industry have been accused of "pressing the nuclear button" by staging a demonstration in Dublin over fuel prices before negotiations could take place.
As the Irish Examiner reports, The Irish Truckers and Haulage Association Against Fuel Prices is behind the protest and is set to be joined by some farmers later in the day-long demonstration.
The association instructed protesting vehicles to meet at various points around the country before descending on Dublin earlier this morning in order to disrupt morning rush hour traffic. The farmers are expected to join the protest in the afternoon.
The group previously caused similar disruption in November during another demonstration, leading the country's main haulage association to distance itself from the group.
The Irish Road Haulage Association (IRHA) said it is not affiliated with the demonstrating group, and will not be a part of the protest, but has argued that action is needed to tackle spiralling fuel costs.
The demonstration has prompted anger from business owners in the capital, with the chief executive of Dublin Town, a group which represents businesses in Dublin city, Richard Guiney saying the protests will hurt an already vulnerable sector of the economy.
Speaking to Newstalk Breakfast, Mr Guiney said the run-up to Christmas is a "very important time for retailers in the city". "We're not having the best of Christmases for obviously reasons - there's a lot of jobs on the line, a lot of businesses that are struggling," he added.
"It does look like the nuclear button was pressed before the serious negotiations took place. Fuel prices rise, they fall - everybody knows that - we've all seen it in our electricity bills, for example.
“There are discussions to be had with retail groups. I'm not aware that any of those have taken place in terms of how costs such as this can be brought into the overall cost process.”
Mr Guiney said industries should be helping each other instead of making things worse, explaining that the economy was integrated, with each section feeding into the other.
“We've seen that really during the Covid crisis, how important all the various parts of the economy are for each other. Dublin city has struggled, retailers have struggled, everybody knows that our footfall is about three quarters of what it would have been in 2019,” he added.
Earlier, other business leaders in the capital also hit out at the protesters, saying it was "beggars belief" that they would do so at such a critical time of the year for retailers who are already under pressure.
Retail Excellence, the largest representative body for the retail industry in Ireland, said it would represent a “body-blow” to retailers in Dublin city at a crucial time of the year for sales.
Managing director of the group, Duncan Graham, said: “There is no doubt that every industry is under fire from various quarters at present, and we have some sympathy for the plight of the hauliers, but now that sympathy is rapidly running out.
"At this time of the year, retailers take in approximately €200 million every day, and it beggars belief that one group would act in this irresponsible way to restrict access to the capital city, and in doing so, imperil livelihoods at a time when every trading day counts.”
Mr Graham said Dublin had been particularly badly affected by Covid restrictions, adding that this protest comes at the worst possible time.
“Footfall in Dublin City centre is down by 30 per cent on 2019 levels, as people continue to steer clear of the capital and instead shop online or in suburban shopping centres," he said.
-Additional reporting by Vivienne Clarke