| 10.5°C Dublin

Cullen accuses Gormley of 'terrible cock-up' in motor tax clampdown

LEADING businessman Bill Cullen has branded Environment Minster John Gormley a "gobs****" following his motor tax clampdown on small business vehicles.

Apprentice star Cullen (68), the former owner of Renault Ireland who still operates a dealership in north Dublin, accused Gormley of being "completely out of touch" with ordinary people.

The millionaire businessman blasted the Green Party leader for "a terrible cock-up" in seeking strict enforcement of an existing ban on the use of low motor tax commercial vehicles for family purposes.

"This is a kick in the goolies for small business people struggling to raise their families," the colourful motor industry mogul told the Herald today.



fairness

The Department of the Environment insisted yesterday that it was merely seeking fairness in the system when it sent a 'get tough' circular to all local councils on the allocation of cheap business-use motor tax discs.

The Department was prompted to issue a warning about strict adherence to existing regulations after it was noticed that a growing proportion of 4X4 vehicles were being taxed at much cheaper commercial rates rather than at the much more expensive private-use rate.

The circular sparked criticism from business groups, the Automobile Association, and opposition politicians.

Today, Bill Cullen declared: "This is a terrible cock-up by Gormley. He is isolated from the real work. This is the third winter of this recession.

"The redundancies and bank bailouts are continuing and there's the 2011 Budget to worry about.

"But what does 'Gob*****' Gormley do? He clamps down on the small fellow. These are the one-man-bands who are trying to keep their small businesses afloat. This is a kick in the goolies for small business people trying to raise their families. They are being punished for using their vehicles just for doing a bit of shopping."

In a colourful diatribe against Mr Gormley and the Green Party in government, he said the small business people trying to earn a living was "an easy target".

He cited the Ivor Callely controversy and the ongoing lavish lifestyles of some bankers and developers as being more scandalous than a business person using their commercially taxed vehicle for some family purposes.



upset

"This will be the straw that breaks the camel's back. I'm really upset by what the minister has done. He's a gobs****! It's an insult to the people of Ireland that could lead to people marching on the Dail.

"It's a kick in the face for people who are just trying to make a living. It really angers me," he said.

Labour Party TD Liz McManus declared: "I wonder if similar restrictions on using work-related vehicles for personal use is to apply to ministerial cars? Somehow I doubt it.

"Can any minister state that the car that is designated as such is never used for personal or social reasons?

"Surely we need to have some consistency when it comes to Government proposals like this."

aokeeffe herald.ie