By PA Ireland Reporters
A protest by hauliers demonstrating over spiralling fuel costs has come to an end, after causing day-long disruption in Dublin.
Demonstrators, some who had been fined for obstructing roads in the docklands area of Dublin, had gathered from early Monday morning.
People of Ireland Against Fuel Prices had threatened to bring “complete lockdown” to the city, with plans for slow-moving convoys of vehicles to travel along a number of motorways into Dublin city centre.
However, the protest instead saw a lower-than-expected number of drivers take part.
Hauliers left the city, some beeping their horns, after 6.30pm on Monday evening after gardaí warned them that the next step would be issuing penalty points.
The blocked roads re-opened shortly after.
Independent TD Richard O’Donoghue, who attended the protest on Monday, said: “I don’t agree with what they had to do, but every protester here had to make that decision for themselves.
“They have families to support and also the implications for their insurance would be a big implication.
“They have been the longest protest that has ever come to Dublin, they were longer than the last protest that was here.
“And if the Government doesn’t listen, they will be back.
“But the advice now is to protest all the Government TDs in their offices.
Asked if the turnout was a disappointment, Mr O’Donoghue said: “There was a lot more here this morning, but the gardai that were here in Dublin told them that they were issuing them with fines and penalty points and a lot of them turned around because they couldn’t afford the fines or the penalty points.
“It was a good enough turnout,” he said.”
“They are standing for everyone in Ireland.”
The protest had centred on the docklands area throughout Monday.
East Link toll bridge and East Wall Road has been blocked with lorries and trailers.
The usually busy roundabout outside the 3Arena was also blockaded, causing the closure of North Wall Quay.
The entrance to Dublin Port and the Port Tunnel was heavily congested.
Some hauliers remained in their parked cabs while others stood in groups on the road.
Gardaí at the scene had warned drivers to move their vehicles from the public road, or they would be issued fines for obstruction.
Many of them refused and had instead indicated that they would remain in the capital overnight.
Truck drivers protesting over spiralling fuel costs in Dublin are being fined for obstructing roads around the docklands area of the city. Demonstrators have been warned they could be hit with fines every 30 minutes. pic.twitter.com/W89ELV9N0g
— Cate McCurry (@CateMcCurry) April 11, 2022
One protester, who did not want to have his name published, had said that they were protesting for the entire country over rising fuel costs.
“It has just spiralled out of control. We are not even doing this for the lorry drivers, we are doing this for the people of Ireland because of the fact that Kerosene and all that has gone to that price,” he said.
“People should be following us here and helping us out as best they can. Our costs have trebled, and it is not sustainable any more and cannot be done any more.”
“It is the way to go because there is no other way to do it.
“We can’t find any other way to do it,” he added.
“Eamon Ryan and the Government is not listening to us so what choice do we have? We don’t want to be disrupting people.
“I just had to stand up with everyone else. Why should I not do it?
“I may as well be here with everyone else.”
Gardaí attempted to manage traffic throughout the day and made repeated attempts to get the protesters to move on, before finally persuading the hauliers to leave on Monday evening.
Many of the vehicles carried banners with the slogan #Irishfuelprotest, with others calling for the resignation of Transport Minister Eamon Ryan.
Hauliers appeared resigned, as they removed the flags and banners as they prepared to exit the city as the sun began to set.
The group behind the protest held two demonstrations in the capital before Christmas which led to significant traffic problems.
The organisation said it is made up of “truck companies struggling to stay afloat”, but is not affiliated with the official Irish Road Haulage Association.
It had announced plans for a pedestrian protest at the GPO on O’Connell Street at 9am, but it did not materialise.
The group says its protests will continue until its demands are met, and has urged participants to “come prepared for at least one week, maybe even two”.
In a Facebook post, the group said: “Dublin will be in complete lockdown and for as long as it takes until our demands are agreed upon by Government!
“We are a group of truck companies struggling to stay afloat and have come together, along with farmers, bus companies, taxis and the general public to protest as the price of being in business and the cost of living is not affordable.
“We are all in crisis.
“How are people to get to school or work?
“How are the elderly and disadvantaged supposed to pay for these increases?
“Not just diesel, petrol but electricity and gas.
“It’s atrocious the situations families are going to find themselves in, choosing between food, heat and transport.
“Our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents did not work hard all their lives and pay tax for us to live in poverty.”
The group said it wanted a peaceful protest and apologised in advance for any inconvenience.
It has called for price caps on petrol, diesel and home-heating fuel and the scrapping of the carbon tax.