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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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‘Government TDs are allowing it to climb to over €2/L to stay in office’

Record energy cost inflation and the highest energy taxes on record are making heating a home, running a car, or operating a farm, transport, or small business “completely unaffordable”.

That is according to the leader of the Rural Independent Group, Deputy Mattie Mc Grath, who stressed that the government’s energy policies and “crippling” carbon taxes are the key drivers of “skyrocketing” fuel and energy prices.

McGrath acknowledged that supply chain concerns Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine caused have augmented problems.

Energy taxes

The group claims that since taking office, the government will have hiked the price per tonne of carbon by 86% come October 2022.

Speaking from Leinster House today (Tuesday, March 8th, 2022), he said:

“Incredibly, since Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and the Greens took office, the carbon tax has jumped from €26/t to €41.50.”

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“But, in the next seven months, these parties will hike the tax higher to €48.50/t.”

“This means that in just over two years, they will have increased the carbon tax burden on everyone by a staggering 86%.”

Therefore, the group calls on the Taoiseach to immediately end or suspend this tax. He stressed that the tax is causing “enormous economic upheaval” for ordinary people.

Carbon tax

McGrath stated that unlike the situation in Ukraine, it is entirely within the government’s control to reduce, suspend or end the carbon tax now.

“Any government that would continue with a fanatical carbon tax, in the midst of a global energy crisis, is deranged and completely out of touch.”

“To compound matters, this government’s maniacal plan is to continue increasing this tax every year to 2030, when they will charge €100 for every tonne of carbon. The economic pain of this will be catastrophic.”

He said the pandemic has been an “economic tidal wave” for residents and small businesses across Ireland.

As a result, he said now, many people are forced into making choices between filling their car with fuel and paying their home heating bill or paying rent or buying groceries.

McGrath believes it is “absolutely detestable and reckless” for any Irish government to continue increasing the tax burden on fuel and energy at a time of such global energy uncertainty, especially when Ireland depends on imported supply lines “so heavily”.

Mini budget

Last month, the group moved a Dáil motion calling on the government to hold a mini-budget to “deal decisively” with the cost of living and energy price emergency.

He said that TDs “unashamedly” blocked the motion and voted to maintain “crippling” fuel taxes.

He said the motion paved the way for the price of home heating oil and fuel to be dropped “significantly”.

“Instead, government TDs are allowing it to climb to over €2 per litre, to stay in office and rake in around €1.15 per litre in taxes for the government.”

“Our policy on carbon tax has been consistent throughout. We do not support this unfair and burdensome tax and have been warning of its detrimental impact for many years.”

Action from government 

The group once again pleaded with the government to:

  • Hold a “justifiable” mini-budget;
  • Cancel the carbon tax;
  • Slash all fuel, electric and home heating taxes, including excise and VAT.

Concluding, McGrath said:

“The government’s ongoing plan of raking in bumper energy tax receipts while taxing people out of existence is unjust and deeply hurtful.”

“This is an emergency situation. A robust intervention package is now long overdue,” concluded the deputy.

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