The owner of a haulage company which shut down in Ireland this week with the loss of 400 jobs has directly blamed the Revenue Commissioners for a hard-line policy that put him out of business.
Seamus McBrien, who with his wife Ann set up the cross-border firm Target Express, said the company had to cease trading as the Revenue had frozen its bank accounts, although €1 million taxes was paid up in six weeks and he would have cleared a remaining €300,000 account by the end of September.
He said the Revenue on Monday rejected a deal which would have seen the company pay off a further €175,000 from the overall outstanding liability. They insisted on receiving the additional
€125,000 as well.
The company couldn’t afford to pay at that stage and, as a result, 398 employees were now out of a job. The Revenue Commissioners declined to comment on the case.
McBrien told The Irish Times he had approached the offices of three Cabinet ministers – Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton, Minister for Finance Michael Noonan and the Minister for Transport Leo Vardakar – to ask them to make representations. They told him they did not wish to become involved.
McBrien added, “I am from Northern Ireland and I came down here and established a wonderful business. But I pity anyone trying to operate a business in the Republic of Ireland at this time given the way the Revenue Commissioners have treated me and my company.
“If I was a U.S. company they would have been crawling all over me, offering me grants to stay.”
McBrien said he was disappointed that the Revenue Commissioners “could make a decision that results in all these people being put out of work and will probably cost the exchequer €5 million over the coming year in social welfare payments and in lost taxes which would have been paid.”
Target Express operated from headquarters at Mulhuddart, Co. Dublin, and in Northern Ireland. On Tuesday, 18 of its workers begun a sit-in at the company’s Little Island plant in Cork.
In a separate development, the Irish Road Haulage Association (IRHA) warned this week that several more large transport companies could go out of business before the end of the year.
It said the rising cost of fuel and the availability of cheap illegally laundered fuel in the Irish market had brought the crisis to a “tipping point.”
IRHA president Eoin Gavin called for the introduction of a rebate on fuel duty for hauliers, similar to those available in Belgium, Luxembourg and Spain.