Govt may take more action on rising cost of living
Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Tánaiste Leo Varadkar have both signalled that the Government is going to take further actions to counter the rising cost of living.
Opposition parties have regularly accused the Coalition of not doing enough to help off-set a spike in inflation.
Addressing the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party last night, Mr Martin said that the coalition Government is “conscious” about the rising cost of living, and how much of it is energy related.
He told his party’s TDs, Senators and MEPs that they are examining “a range of measures”, including reducing Government charges, in order to enable people to protect their disposable incomes.
Around the same time, Mr Varadkar told a Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting that the planned €113 energy rebate “isn’t enough” to counter rising energy prices.
He also mentioned the potential of lowering Government fees and charges – saying rising inflation and higher prices means more needs to be done to help families.
The issue of helping households deal with a spike in energy bills, and other costs, has been regularly raised by Opposition parties in recent months.
Sinn Féin, Labour, the Social Democrats and Independent TDs have all branded the Coalition as being “out of touch” on the issue.
Last month, Social Democrats co-leader Catherine Murphy told the Dáil that Ireland has a “cost of living crisis”, saying those who are struggling are being forced to choose between heating their home and putting food on the table.
She said “huge” price hikes in the cost of food, transport, energy and insurance means that small increases in things like the minimum wage have been “eaten-up by inflation”.
Days later, Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said the cost of living has reached an unbearable level for many people.
Ms McDonald said that costs are so far out of control that the planned energy rebate will not be a game changer, and the benefit will be cancelled out by further price rises.
The annual rate of inflation hit a 20-year high in December 2021, with the CSO reporting a 5.5% rise.
The figures showed that diesel prices rose by 36% on an annual basis, while petrol prices increased by 32% and airfares were up 66%.
Prices for electricity were up 22.4% while gas was up 28%. The cost of home heating oil was up 53%.
Private sector rents were up 8.4%.