Taoiseach champions energy efficiency measures as part of cost of living response
Taoiseach Micheál Martin has championed plans to promote energy efficiency, including taking shorter showers and driving less, as part of a comprehensive response to rising cost of living pressures.
He also said Europe-wide measures will be needed to tackle soaring inflation which is putting pressure on households, saying the government cannot fix the problem alone.
Speaking on Monday after multinational Workday announced plans to create 1,000 jobs in Dublin, Mr Martin said the government was not considering a mini-budget to respond to inflation, which is expected to hit 8, 5% or more in the next few years. month.
Mr Martin also defended Environment Minister Eamon Ryan’s plans to promote energy efficiency measures to cut household spending.
The Irish Times reported on Monday that people will be encouraged to take shorter showers and reduce one car journey a week to cut their energy costs under plans drawn up by Green Party leader Mr Ryan.
Mr Martin said: ‘Energy efficiency makes sense at any time of the year, crisis or no crisis, and let’s not be so dismissive about it.’
Pandemic-related issues had fueled inflationary pressures that the war in Ukraine was exacerbating, according to the Taoiseach.
He said the danger was “chasing inflation away” with new measures risking fueling it.
“We will need measures at the European macro level to deal with inflation as well. The Irish government alone will not be able to deal with it in its entirety.
Some residents of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael are uneasy about planned carbon tax increases on heating oil and other fuels due to start next month.
The increases will add approximately €1.50 per month to the cost of heating oil and €1.40 to a monthly gas bill.
Asked if the increase was poorly timed, Mr Martin said the impact of the changes was “not as great as the political debate surrounding it would suggest”.
“The problem is much bigger than the carbon tax issue that was written into legislation to address an existential crisis of our time, climate change.”
Earlier, Mr Ryan said energy prices were expected to remain unpredictable over the coming months and the government was unable to simply “solve” the challenge of rising costs for domestic consumers.
Mr Ryan is due to present a new set of measures to the Government this week as measures are underway to help households cope with spiraling energy expenditure and the cost of living.
Mr Ryan said the priority was to help those most at risk of fuel poverty, while there will be other universal measures such as zeroing the tax on public service obligations ( OSP) on energy bills.
“We are going to have to do a lot more because we don’t know how long this war will last. . international markets are for gas and oil and coal are the root of this problem. And we cannot completely solve this problem,” he said.
Mr Ryan said there would be a coordinated focus on energy efficiency across Europe and that the traditional reliance on Russian fossil fuels has re-emphasized the importance for Ireland of having its own resources; including wind, solar and biomass.
He said the new measures to be introduced “will be very specifically aimed at helping particular households, others to significantly change the planning or regulatory or market system, to help people in debt difficulties, to ensure that we do whatever gets them out of trouble.
Subsidies of up to 80% for 500,000 to 700,000 homes for better insulation could mean savings of up to 25% on bills and this needed to be focused on urgently, he said.
The unpredictability of energy prices was highlighted by Foreign Secretary Simon Coveney, who said the government was unable to “get things back to normal”.
At the heart of the government’s efforts will be measures to help people pay their bills and provide assistance “in difficult times”, he said.