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Diesel ban ‘hammer blow’ for boat owners

THE decision to ban the use of red diesel to fuel private boats has been branded a “hammer blow” for the local marine leisure industry.
The intended change in legislation is subsequent to EU ruling against Ireland using Marked Gas Oil (MGO), commonly referred to as red diesel, to fuel private boats. The legislative change is due to come into effect from 1 January 2020.
With ongoing uncertainty surrounding Brexit it is unclear of the full extent that these legislative changes will bring to private boat owners in the North.
However, given the cross border nature of the Shannon-Erne waterway it is believed that a move to prohibit use of red diesel for boaters would have a detrimental impact on those travelling across the border should Brexit result in legal differences between the North and South.
Robbie McClean from Carrybridge Boat Company noted that a considerable number of boaters would make their way across the border from the Erne to the Shannon on holiday cruises.
“They would leave lots of tourist cash in shops, bars, restaurants, marinas on the Shannon, and in villages along the Shannon Erne waterway, (Belturbet, Ballyconnel, Ballinamore, Keshcarrigan, Leitrim). Cumulatively, it would amount to substantial trade.”
“This trade will be over at a stroke of an EU bureaucrats pen, a bureaucrat who in all probability, has never heard of the Erne, the Shannon, or the Irish marine leisure industry.”
Mr McClean also remarked that it would be very difficult for boat owners to swap between fuel types.
“Motor cruisers by their nature carry a very substantial fuel load, and it is entirely impractical to vacate the tanks to convert to running on road diesel to only do one or two trips south per season.”
“Additionally, a residue of the heretofore legally used MGO will linger in fuel systems, and no owner will want to incur the risk of having his vessel seized in the Irish republic.
“Put simply, people will conclude that its more bother than its worth in my opinion.”

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