Protections for consumers are urgently needed in order to mitigate the fuel price hike crisis, according to Deputy Ruairí Ó Murchú.
As prices for diesel, petrol and home heating oil rocketed last week, the Sinn Féin TD used time in the Dáil to highlight the ‘incredibly difficult’ situation.
He said the Covid 19 pandemic was ‘not of our making’ and the government managed to create mitigations for workers and businesses – and the same needs to be done with the fuel crisis.
Deputy Ó Murchú said: ‘Once again, we are in a situation that is not of our making.
‘There were already conditions of inflation due to the outworkings of Covid and Brexit but, beyond that, we have had to deal with the absolutely criminal and murderous invasion of Ukraine by Vladimir Putin.
‘Once again, support and solidarity has to be shown to the Ukrainian people but, in addition, we have to consider what mitigations can be introduced for our own people in the present circumstances.
‘We have all seen how prices have shot up. Sinn Féin welcomes the fact that there are some mitigations from the Government, but more will be needed’.
He said that while pegging motor fuel prices at €1.75 a litre is ‘not necessarily exactly where people want them to be’ it is ‘a point of mitigation’.
He said: ‘We recognise there has been a significant increase in the tax take and that has to be taken into account when decisions are being made. I call on the Government to consider that to ensure there is a pegging system and some sort of baseline that people will know they will pay at the pump’.
Longer term solutions are needed, the Dundalk TD said, including breaking the reliance on fossil fuels.
He said: ‘We are not as far on as we would like to be when it comes to wind energy. There is an onus on us to deal with that. We also have to deal with the specific issue of home heating oil and the pressure in that regard.
‘We brought in the protections relating to Covid because they were needed. We are now in a situation that is not of the making of the Government or the Opposition, but we do need to protect our people.
‘We need to mitigate where we can. I accept some of this needs to be done at European level, particularly in relation to VAT.
‘There is an onus on the State to make sure our voice is heard there, but we also need to do exactly what we can and there is still an opportunity to do that’.