Failure by the government to curb electricity and fuel prices or slash record-high taxes, including the carbon tax, is causing more and more households to be pushed into energy poverty, according to the Rural TDs.
The group’s leader, Deputy Mattie Mc Grath, stated: “As Christmas approaches, new research by the ERSI confirms that two in every five households are now in energy poverty, due to continued rising fuel and electricity prices. In raw numbers, this means that a mind-boggling 700,000 Irish households are now in energy poverty.”
“In fact, the latest data confirms that over the last five months, a further 10%, that is 175,000 households, have entered energy poverty.”
“During this time, despite the severe crisis, the government has done little, except distributing electricity credits that ultimately augment the profits of energy companies.”
“The failure by the government to cap electricity prices and slash all energy taxes, to give people a break, is unforgivable. In fact, since assuming power in 2020, this government has increased the crippling climate or carbon tax by almost 150%. The impact is driving up energy prices and the government plans to raise €623 million from the tax in 2023.”
“Unfortunately, the carbon tax plan is solely about taxing money from people’s pockets to raise funds for the government. It has nothing to do with protecting the environment.”
“All across the country, and in my own Tipperary constituency, we are hearing testimony from families that are facing the full brunt of the cost-of-living crisis. These families are now struggling to afford basic essentials and are forced to go without food or heat.”
“In fact, we believe that the crisis could be even worse than the latest research suggests. Many people are being forced into situations of deprivation because they cannot afford basic essentials.”
“Clearly, the political establishment and highly paid government ministers are unrealistic and devoid of ideas. They have absolutely no idea how energy destitution is severely impacting ordinary people.”
“Providing temporary welfare reliefs – whether for energy costs or other challenges – though welcome, does nothing to reduce energy costs. That is why the Rural Independent Group has consistently challenged the government to give people a permanent break by capping electricity prices, slashing all energy taxes, and axing the crippling carbon tax.”
“Failure by the government to lower energy taxes or tackle the escalating energy costs coherently is the reason why 700,000 households will face energy poverty this Christmas. These people are being abandoned; they can no longer afford to heat their homes. This is an inconceivable thought but, sadly, is a reality. How can the government let this happen?” concluded Deputy McGrath.