Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Environment, Climate and Communications, Darren O’Rourke TD, today called on Minister Eamon Ryan to do more to tackle the rising cost of fuel and electricity for households.

Speaking to Meath Live, the Meath East TD said, “Utility costs are skyrocketing for people. One electricity supplier has, for example, hiked prices by 50% over the past 12 months alone.

“This is putting massive pressure on workers and families.

“These increases are on top of the other costs the government have failed to tackle, such as record rents, and as a result household budgets are stretched to breaking point.

“More needs to be done on this by this Government. I put this to Eamon Ryan, the Minister with responsibility in the area, in the Dáil last week. Unfortunately, he tried to wash his hands of the problem, solely blaming wholesale costs and the international markets.

“While the increase of gas prices internationally is one major factor, government-imposed charges such as the PSO, carbon tax and 13.5% VAT also contribute significantly to the total cost of bills for households.

“The carbon tax, which is set to be hiked again this year will also drive up household gas and home heating bills even more.

“Sinn Féin have highlighted how unfair it is to keep raising the carbon tax when people simply don’t have any other options. This year’s hike isn’t going to stop people using gas and oil to heat their homes this winter, it will just add further to their financial pressures.

“This is impacting the most vulnerable in our society and the upcoming tax and social welfare budget package must recognise this.

“The constant fuel and electricity price hikes also demonstrate how dependent and exposed the state is to volatility in the international energy markets and highlights the need for semi-state companies, such as the ESB and Bord na Mona, to invest, develop and importantly retain ownership of renewable energy.”