There's been major traffic disruption in Dublin this morning as a convoy of truckers makes its way to the Dáil to protest rising fuel prices.
The hauliers met at access points on the main motorways into the city this morning and made their way towards Kildare Street.
It's caused significant disruption in the city centre as well as main roads leading into the city - including the M1, M4, M7 and M50.
Kildare Street itself has been closed off this morning, but large numbers of trucks have arrived on nearby streets including Dawson Street and Merrion Square.
Protesting truck drivers say they understand commuters' frustrations this morning, but say their own voices must be heard.
The slow moving convoy is causing significant traffic disruption travelling northbound on the M50 between Junction 6 Blanchardstown and Junction 4 Ballymun. pic.twitter.com/h4eL6kDK25
— An Garda Síochána (@GardaTraffic) November 24, 2021
Organisers for the protest say they are looking for lower fuel prices at the pump and at home.
They are calling for taxes to be reduced – warning that “rebates are no good.”
They have threatened to come back in bigger numbers for a week before Christmas if they don’t get a satisfactory answer from Government today.
— Richard O'Donoghue TD (@RichardODonoghu) November 24, 2021
Mark Sheehan, owner of MS Transport, says his diesel bill has increased by €20,000 a month.
“The problem is, as you know at the moment, with inflation at the minute - drivers wages, diesel, toll bridges - there is just no money in it anymore,” he said.
“The cost has gone through the roof. You are trying to keep people in jobs and it just keeps rising and rising and rising and we get nothing out of it.”
More than 80 trucks and tractors have joined a convoy from Nass this morning.
They are making their way to Leinster House calling for reduced fuel costs.
— Josh Crosbie (@JoshCrosbie3) November 24, 2021
Gardaí have said they have a plan in place for the protest but they are advising people to prepare for heavy traffic.
One of the protesters, Jay, told Newstalk he has no other option as the cost of diesel has become unaffordable.
“My plan is I am leaving from the midlands, the M4/M6 split,” he said.
“Any truck driver out there will know where that is. We are leaving from there, we are making our way up to the Dáil to see if one of them will come out and talk to us because it is not getting any cheaper and it is not getting any cheaper to live either – even the cost of heating out homes now has gone through the roof.”
He said the protesters feel they “have to do something” to protect their industry.
“I am just a driver,” he said. “I’m just a normal fella out there driving for a lad and the price of diesel is crippling us. It really is. Something has to give.”
“The people of Ireland love their cheap products and they all come in the back of trucks and unless something is done the price of transport is ging to go up.”
The protesters are warning that without a reduction in costs, “a lot of small operators will be out of business sooner than you think.”