WATCH: Ryan says Ukraine war is behind energy crisis

Amid spiralling cost of living and fuel costs, Energy and Transport Minister Eamon Ryan has expressed the view that the war in Ukraine is primarily responsible for the problem.

“The cost-of-living crisis is driven by the war,” he said, speaking in the Dáil.

At this point, it was put to the Minister that “Ukraine is not an excuse for everything.”

“No, but it is,” replied Ryan, which elicited laughter from the chamber.

“What has happened with energy prices is fundamental to the cost-of-living increases,” he said.

“There is a real connection. It is not just about energy; there is also the potential increase in the cost of food. There are other reasons, including supply chain issues coming out of Covid, but the war in Ukraine and what Russia is doing is central to the cost-of-living issue.”

When it was put to Minister Ryan that energy prices were up 27% last year, before the war, he responded that this was because of “Profiteering by Mr. Putin.”

“One of the main reasons is that Mr. Putin started reducing the flow of gas into Europe and started raising Gazprom stocks in Russia,” he said.

“At this moment in time, gas stocks in Europe are at about 25% capacity, while Russian gas stocks are at full capacity. That lack of gas supply pushed up the price of gas which also pushed up the price of electricity.”

Notably, Irish energy and fuel prices have been rising for years, with Ireland having the third priciest electricity in the EU in as far back as 2015 according to Eurostat – long before the war in Ukraine.

In 2021, Ireland’s electricity prices were disproportionately high, among the dearest in Europe.

In October of last year, AA Ireland said that the record fuel prices being experienced were “scary,” adding that around 60% of fuel costs were government taxes and levies such as carbon tax.

“Irish motorists are already paying around 60 percent in tax at the pumps for their fuel,” said Paddy Comyn, AA Ireland’s Head of Communications.

“For some motorists, moving into an electric vehicle is as yet too far a stretch, and they have no choice but to now pay more to get around, as the public transport network remains imperfect, especially outside of the capital.”

In 2019 AA Ireland described Ireland’s carbon tax hikes as little more than a “cash grab dressed up as a green initiative,” saying it would do little to help the climate.

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