When are we going to kick 'ass?

According to the Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG), National Toll Roads underpaid the State by nearly €2 million in 2003/2004. The director of NTR, Michael Walsh, did what the banks always do when dodgy financial activities see the light of day; he claimed it was an ‘error’.

Amazingly, or perhaps not so amazingly, this ‘error’ went unnoticed by NTR, its auditors, the National Roads Authority and the Department of Transport.

If it wasn’t for the beady eye of a civil servant in the C&AGs office, taxpayers would have been down €2 million.

But let’s face it; €2 million is chicken feed when compared to the vast amounts of cash involved in the whole M50 West Link saga. Here are some of the figures.

Up to 2004, taxpayers had paid about €1.1 billion building the M50 each side of the West Link Bridge. NTR paid an initial €14 million in today’s money for the bridge. Now the Government is giving them €600 million to buy the bridge back.

Every taxpayer in the country should stop doing what they’re doing when they hear that figure in the media and silently mouth to themselves – €600 million.

But there’s more; having paid for the road and bought back the bridge they will now, on threat of prosecution, be forced to pay for the whole thing again through continuing tolls.

This is in addition to the penal taxes already imposed on motorists. In 2004, for example, motorists paid €946 in VRT alone.

So, my question is – when are motorists/taxpayers going to kick ‘ass?