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EU signals backing for fuel piracy crackdown

By John Downing

Published 19/05/2015

Multi-million pound diesel-laundering rackets which are causing environmental havoc in border counties
Multi-million pound diesel-laundering rackets which are causing environmental havoc in border counties

An EU commissioner is to signal strong Brussels support in the battle against the multi-million pound diesel-laundering rackets which are causing environmental havoc in border counties.

Environment Commissioner Karmenu Vella is due in Dublin and Belfast tomorrow to meet both governments for discussions on the scourge of diesel laundering and the dumping of poisonous residues polluting the border.

The move follows strong statements on the issue by EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan who challenged Sinn Féin to "tell more of what they know" about border fuel rackets.

Mr Vella, a native of Malta, is to meet the Republic's environment minister Alan Kelly and his Stormont counterpart Mark H Durkan of the SDLP. Mr Vella's meetings will focus especially on cross-border cooperation.

In his letter the Commissioner expressed concerns about the risk to the environment and ultimately to human health. Officials close to the process say the possibility of Brussels funds for a cross-border crackdown can be explored.

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