New M50 toll – The vultures are gathering

Only last Tuesday I wrote that the assurances given by Hugh Creegan of the National Roads Authority that motorists would not be charged extra by retailers for their toll cards had about as much credibility as a politician’s promise. Here’s what Creegan said;

“No, there won’t be any surcharging; they’ll just be paying the statuary toll charge and nothing else. While it may be technically possible it won’t happen in practice.”

Already, the vultures are circling. Vincent Jennings of the Convenience Stores and Newsagents Association provided the following pathetic excuse for the latest rip off of Irish consumers (The Last Word, Monday).

“We’re receiving less than 2.5 cents for the €3 transaction and you have to key it through, even or eight digits per registration, you have to be very sure that you hear the person correctly; that you transpose it correctly into the machine. All of that takes in excess of 30 seconds and it’s just not economic at 2.5 cents.”

We can take it that retailers are not being tortured into providing this service; we can take it that they sat down and did some hard bargaining with the operators before satisfying themselves that they were getting a good price for their services. We can, in other words, take it that the retailers were more than happy with the 2.5 cents they finally agreed to for every 30 second transaction.

What they are now doing is applying the Irish rip off charge. They can do this with impunity because there is no consumer protection in Ireland; the National Consumer Authority is a joke. They can do this because Irish people are submissive, they do not have the ability to get angry en masse.

It is fascinating to watch motorists smiling happily for the cameras as they enthusiastically endorse this latest government scam that will see motorists buy this stretch of road for the third or fourth time.

It is depressing to realise that Irish people have no idea of their political power. All motorists have to do is block the M50 until such time as the toll is abolished. I’d give it two or three days at most before our cowardly politicians submitted to the wishes of the people.

Copy to:
Convenience Stores and Newsagents Association