April 1, 2022
Claire Kerrane TD criticises government indifference to energy cost crisis after further price hike announcement

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Social Protection, Claire Kerrane TD, has demanded that the government take urgent action to cut energy costs following yet another price increase.

Her comments follow an announcement by SSE Airtricity today that prices will increase, causing severe financial pressures for consumers. Just yesterday, Electric Ireland made a similar announcement, following a further announcement by Bord Gáis just weeks before.

Speaking this afternoon, Teachta Kerrane said:

“Energy prices are far too high and workers and families are struggling to afford them. The government must act now to reduce energy prices.

“Today, SSE Airtricity announced another price hike for customers. That followed a similar announcement from Electric Ireland just yesterday. Similarly, Bord Gáis had announced another increase in energy prices just weeks before. This is coming at a time when energy prices were already at an all time high for households. Customers have seen price increase after price increase and are struggling to keep on top of these costs. These are frightening announcements and come after 35 energy price hikes announced last year.

“These latest price increases of 24% for electricity and 33.2% in gas will kick in from May 1st, the same day the carbon tax is due to increase. Fuel Allowance season is about to come to an end next week, leaving families without vital financial supports. People are being pushed to breaking point and will simply be unable to afford their energy bills and heat their homes. 

“The Government need to wake up to the reality of the crisis that is happening. They need to stop focusing on small and inadequate measures in the Budget last October and go back to the table in order to help people urgently now. 

“Last year’s increases in social welfare payments which Government keep pointing to are now irrelevant. They must take urgent steps now to deliver real support for families struggling to pay their energy bills.

“Yesterday in the Dáil, my colleague Pearse Doherty raised this issue with Green Party leader Eamon Ryan. Minister Ryan’s response was shocking in the total indifference he showed to the huge pressures facing families. He offered nothing to help people hit by these sky high bills. This shows how out of the touch the government are and how they simply don’t get the scale of this crisis and how it is affecting ordinary people.

“I am urging the government to act now to help people with the cost of energy. Minister Humphreys must engage with the Society of St Vincent de Paul urgently. She must establish a discretionary fund and widen eligibility for Fuel Allowance to those on Working Family Payment. She must extend the Fuel Allowance season by 2 weeks and keep this under review. These are the kind of targeted measures that are needed.

“For five months now, Pearse Doherty has been calling on the government to work with the European Commission to reduce VAT on household energy bills. Despite this, it recently emerged that the Minister for Finance only wrote to the Commission on this matter two weeks ago. This is unacceptable. The government needs to act urgently now to help people facing this cost of living crisis.”

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