Bang for the buck? Limerick Council collects €23m in motor tax

More than 90,000 vehicles were registered in city and county so far this year

Fintan Walsh


Fintan Walsh


Bang for the buck? Limerick Council collects €23m in motor tax

Leader photographer Michael Cowhey pictured this road between Kildimo and Adare last week

DRIVERS who pay their motor tax are not getting value for money, according to elected representatives who have condemned Limerick’s road conditions.

Between January and June, Limerick City and County Council collected a total of €23,663,003 in motor tax receipts, through 90,880 registered vehicles, according to figures released by the Department of Transport and the council.

The council collected the fourth highest sum of motor tax receipts in the first half of 2016, behind Kildare with €27m; Galway with €31.2m; Cork with €67.5m; and Dublin with €144.1m.

Drivers in Limerick have paid an average of €260.38 in motor tax in the first of this year.

Cllr Lisa Marie Sheehy said that cul de sacs, boreens and small local roads are “last on the list” for repairs and development.

“When I was elected, one of the first things that I came across was that a postwoman couldn’t go up the road because it was so bad," she said.

"She had to give all the letters, of the people living up the road, to one of the residents and he would call down to her to collect their mail. For me, that was an absolute disgrace, the fact that the roads were that bad of a state. I had to put a motion forward and we were able to get channels done. And a lot of the problems, especially I am from, relate to water, so the roads are being eaten away,” she said. 

Drivers can submit claims to the council if their vehicles are damaged by potholes, which she said is a frequent issue in the Cappamore-Kilmallock area. 

“But those people who live on those roads pay their motor tax. And why should other places be prioritised? There are various people getting their cars destroyed. The amount of people who have rang me about potholes that have put off axles and burst tyres in their car,” she added.

Cllr Richard O’Donoghue criticised the “complex” registration process for small commercial vehicles.

“You need a tax clearance cert, a VAT return, signed by a garda. It is absolutely crazy the things you have to do to get a vehicle taxed, never mind how bad our roads are at the moment.

“All the money that is being collected, they are not spending enough in the county. Our road structure in the county is very poor. The biggest rate-payers, alongside the biggest tax-payers, are in the county. They have to travel the longest distances to work, on substandard roads. My own opinion is that the drivers in the county are not getting their value for money in the county.”

Independent councillor John Gilligan condemned footpaths and roads in St Mary’s Park, which he said requires urgent upgrading. He added that there is too much “patching” in the area.

“The patches eventually shrink. That will lead to potholes, and once they see a pothole, they patch it up again. You can’t patch a road or a footpath, where a substantial amount has been taken out. The only thing you can do is relay the entire footpath, or relay the entire road. We are paying a huge price for it. It is about time that we got something in return.”

A total of 59,073 vehicles were registered online and the remaining 31,807 were registered at the motor tax office, at County Hall, Dooradoyle.