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Electric Vehicle Grant benefiting those in large cities more than rural areas says Laois TD

Electric car charging

Sinn Féin TD Brian Stanley says that the grant of €10k towards the purchase of new Electric Vehicles (EV’s) has benefited people in large cities who are doing short journeys more than workers or families in rural counties like Laois and Offaly.

According to the Laois TD, the scheme thus far has predominately been to the benefit those who live in areas who have the option to avail of public transport.

The grant, Deputy Stanley says, is also being used to subsidise the purchase of luxury vehicles as opposed to the purchase of average size cars.

He said: “I raised this with Senior Officials from the Department of Environment and the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) when they attended the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

“Figures I obtained show that last year just 153 grants for EV purchase were paid out to motorists in Laois with even a smaller amount paid out in Offaly to 145, while there was 5,087 paid out in Dublin.

“The reality is that there are still issues with the range an EV will travel with a fully charged battery.

“People in rural counties generally have to travel longer distances to work and sufficient charging infrastructure is just not available at this point in time.

“Department of Transport figures show that there are only 10 public charging points in Laois with 8 in Offaly while Dublin has 159.

“The other issue I raised is the type of vehicles being purchased with grant aid.

“Last year 44 Jaguars, 438 Mercedes Benz, 316 Land Rovers and a whopping 1467 BMW’s were subsidised by the tax payer.

“This is absolute madness and makes no economic or environmental sense. Anyone that can afford to buy these luxury vehicles should not be subsidised by the taxpayer.

“Up to the middle of last year there was no upward limit on the price or model of EV’s that could be purchased with the grant.

“A cap is now in place of €60K and above this no grant aid is available. While this is welcome it does not go far enough.

“This cap needs to be reduced further so as to incentivise the purchase of more modest vehicles and to be of greater benefit to those on average incomes.

“I am calling on the Government to change the grant system to reflect this.’’

SEE ALSO – ESB called out as Councillors fume over delays to underground cabling in Laois town

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Stradbally native Alan Hartnett is a graduate of Knockbeg College who has worked in the local and national media since 2008. Alan has a BA in Economics, Politics and Law and an MA in Journalism from DCU. His happiest moment was when Jody Dillon scored THAT goal in the Laois senior football final in 2016.