PROGRESS ON PART WORN TYRES CAMPAIGN.
As previously stated on this blog, We at Heffernan Tyres are totally committed to the campaign against the sale of Part Worn tyres. We covered the subject in our previous posts; PROGRESS AT LAST , A TERRIBLE PRICE TO PAY and PART SAFE TYRES FROM €20 .
Well things are moving slowly along and whilst we are by no means able to reassure you that the bloke who just overtook you at 160KPH on a country road is on legal tyres; there has been some progress.
In October we received a draft of a Irish Tyre Industry Association (ITIA) letter which was designed to lobby our local TDs and County Council.
We wrote to our local members and Council and to their credit we got a good level of response.
Notably, Sean O Fearghail (Fianna Fail) asked the following question to the Minister for Finance during Dail question time.
'To ask the Minister his views on concerns raised in correspondence; if he will consider the plights of persons operating in the tyre industry here; and if he will make a statement on the matter'
The Minister for Finance, Mr. Michael Noonan, responded at lenght, that audits were underway and had already yielded €330,000 in 2012 from the motor industry "of which tyres are a part".
He outlined methodologies used to catch revenue dodgers including surveillance, cold calls,etc.
We have not heard of any instances with regard to tyre businesses, however it is encouraging that Mr. Noonan is aware of and discussing the issue. Realistically, it is this route that will probably be the most effective way of tackling the problem. There is nothing the government cares more about than lost revenue.
Our FG member, Mr Martin Heydon TD, went the route of writing to the Minister for Social Protection, Ms Joan Burton. This route focused on black economy and individuals who trade in cash. It could result in 'raids' of corner shop tyre operators but as yet we've not heard of any.
And then there's that old chestnut, Environment. Our County Councils are responsible for the implementation of regulation where tyre waste is concerned. It would be ludicrous to assume that there is compliance to environmental law in businesses where the turnover of revenue is not declared. In other words if a tyre shop declared that he had disposed of 1,000 tyres it would be fair to assume that he had sold the same amount. Therefore he is not likely to declare either. The result, illegal dumping.
We wrote to our council of our concerns and got a reply. The main point in the letter of response was " If you have any information in relation to the names, addresses and location of traders who are selling second hand tyres please forward them to us". This could be interpreted as; Please do our job for us! Something to bear in mind when we receive begging letters at home for Household Charges.
We know from our experience that the Council is very happy to go through respectable businesses like our with a fine tooth comb( and find nothing) but have it from a reliable source that when they went to another Kildare operator they were told to " F**k Right Off "! That was a year ago. And you guessed it; No charges or prosecution. We are disappointed in the performance of the council in this regard. We deserve and pay for better.
The ITIA have been very proactive on highlighting the dangers of Part Worn Tyres and took the excellent initiative of purchasing 130 tyres from a number of Par Worn dealers in Ireland. The tyres were then inspected by a tyre technician and the results published. Over half were found to be totally unsafe. Faults included nails, screws, worn out and perished. One tyre was over twenty years old. The report made TV3 news and was covered in detail. You can view the story here .
In summary, we are making progress, albeit, painfully slow progress. Our campaign is about safety, jobs, tax compliance and environment. The campaign is being driven by the Irish Tyre Industry and not the people we elect and pay for. That is hugely disappointing!