Aontú leader, Peadar Tóibin, has said that staggering increases in energy prices coupled with government inaction means that people will go cold this winter.
Deputy Peadar Tóibín said that 70% of all Irish people are struggling to make ends meet due to the growing cost of living. In contrast, he said, TDs had just received a substantial pay increase.
“At this rate it looks like the only thing that will remain warm this winter, is the government’s hands, from sitting on them,” the Meath West TD said.
“Over the past few months, we’ve been seeing a staggering increase in prices. Grocery inflation in Ireland is at 7.7%, the highest level since 2008. Last week, Energia hiked gas and electricity prices by 39% and 29% respectively. Just a few days before this the Electric Ireland increase its prices for the 4th time”.
“So the questions arises, what has the government done to alleviate this pressure on families? They have refused to reduce vat on fuel citing EU rules that may prevent this. Yet Spain has reduced VAT on fuel and they are subject to the same regulations. Tax on natural gas will be reduced in Spain from 21% to 5% from October until the end of the year. FF, FG and the Greens will increase the rate of Carbon Tax on fuel in the budget. Think about it, in the jaws of the worst energy and cost of living crisis in generations they will put the price fuel up in the budget”.
“The government has refused to decouple the price of non gas generated electricity from gas generated electricity. Again the Irish government point the finger on the EU and say that they are the competent authority in this area. This is one of the main reasons for the high cost of fuel and for the profits being raked in by some energy companies. The European Commission allowed Spain and Portugal to decouple the price of gas from that of electricity for the next 12 months”.
“The government have sat on their hands when it comes to energy companies as well. Electric Ireland, a semi state has made enormous profits in the last year. Yet despite repeated calls they government has refused to direct Electric Ireland to ease the pressure on people. Even the Tories in London have made a decision on a Windfall Tax. Then again the Tories have also plans to cap the price of fuel. The Irish government should be mortified that the Tories are more proactive on the cost of fuel then they are”.
“We saw Minister Eamon Ryan speak in measured tones about the serious need to build off shore wind farms at recent EU wide Off Shore conference on energy in Dublin. The Irish government has seen 7 wind turbines built off shore in Ireland in 20 years. The Minister cant guarantee us an electricity supply this Winter yet he allows Shannonbridge and Lanesborough to remain idle. The Derrybrien windfarm sits like a useless ornament on the landscape at a time of amber warnings. The Minister has left Ireland unique in being the only country without a gas reserve in a gas supply crisis. This is unforgivable and there should be accountability for this alone”.
“The government’s approach can be described with the use of a single word, inertia. There is no urgency, there is no rush. Just the constant use of the future tense. Its clear that TDs soon to receive a €6,500 salary increase are not feeling the pinch. At this rate it looks like the only thing that will remain warm this winter, is the government’s hands, from sitting on them,” he said.