June 29, 2023
Government’s long-awaited Bill to address windfall gains in the energy sector is incomplete and weak – Darren O’Rourke TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Climate and the Environment, Darren O’Rourke TD, has criticised the government’s efforts to address windfall gains in the energy sector and called on them to adopt Sinn Féin’s amendments that ensure that prospective revenues from this measure are maximised, that they are targeted at households to provide critical and urgent relief from sky-high energy bills and finally that this relief is delivered quickly.
 
The Meath East TD said: 
 
“The government has dragged their feet on this for far too long. While 18 other EU countries have already implemented the measure, the people of Ireland are still waiting for this government to get its act together. This is not good enough.  
 
“Despite the EU having introduced this legislation in October, we are two days out from July and we are still at the drawing board. Not only that, what the government has delivered is only half the story. This Bill only addresses the Temporary Solidarity Contribution. We are still waiting for the plan on the Cap on Market Revenue. 
 
“These delays would be unacceptable under any circumstances but are absolutely shocking in the current context. 
 
“Ireland has some of the highest energy prices in Europe and household energy costs have more than doubled in the last year. 
 
“Despite wholesale prices falling significantly over the last year, bills remain inflated. In this, Ireland is an outlier in Europe, with the Central Bank recently noting that consumer prices have been falling all over Europe. 
 
“As a result of all of this, is it any surprise that almost one in three people are living in energy poverty and that energy related requests have increased by almost 50 percent at St. Vincent De Paul? Moreover, Irish living standards have fallen further behind other European countries and we are now in the bottom half of the European league table. 
 
“And what has the government done to address this? Very little.
 
“They reassured cash-strapped houses time and time again energy bills would come down, and if they didn’t, they would hold energy companies to account. Yet bills remain sky-high. 
 
“To add insult to injury, the Taoiseach delivered a devastating blow recently when he said that energy costs would remain very high this winter.
 
“The Irish people deserve a government that will do better and is willing to fight for them and their future. 
 
“It is possible to turn this around, but decisive action is required. Windfall taxes are an essential element, but they must be robust and fit for purpose. 
 
“Sinn Féin is therefore calling on the government to adopt our amendments on the temporary solidarity contribution and to urgently introduce the cap on market revenues, both of which should be targeted at households to provide urgent and essential relief to households. People have waited long enough.” 

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