Councillors says Revenue figures show Donegal ‘unfairly targeted’ with VRT checkpoints

A Donegal election candidate is claiming the county is being unfairly targetted when it comes to Customs and Revenue checkpoints for vehicle registration tax.

Independent candidate Sinead Stewart says this is shown by figures she has obtained from Revenue under a Freedom of Information request.

In general, all motor vehicles in the State must be registered within 30 days of the date they first arrive in the Republic.

One way Revenue enforces this is by setting up checkpoints.

But there have long been claims that there are more such checkpoints in Donegal than in other counties.

Now, election candidate Sinead Stewart says figures she has obtained from Revenue itself bears this out.

This year alone, there have been 90 checkpoints in Donegal.

That compares to 45 in Cavan/Monaghan/Longford combined, and a total of 35 in Sligo/Leitrim/Roscommon.

For 2018, there were 287 checkpints in Donegal, compared to 225 in Cavan/Monaghan/Longford, and 162 in Sligo/Leitrim/Roscommon.

For the years 2017, 2016 and 2015, the Donegal figures were 239, 107 and 141.

For those years in Cavan/Monaghan/Longford, the figures were 204, 161 and 189.

And in Sligo/Leitrim/Roscommon, the figures were 105, 88 and 119 for those years.

Sinead Steward said the figures come as no surprise.

She insists Donegal is being unfairly targeted, despite it being a border county, where such checkpoints might be expected.

Sinead Stewart says that in some instances, Revenue may be backed up at checkpoints by people from other agencies, including by armed gardai and officials from the Department of Social Welfare.

She also says this is happening despite the European Court of Justice ruling that there are illegalities within the VRT system in Ireland.