“The government is rubbing its hands like a fat pig going to market or a man in a fair rubbing his hands and making money out of people’s misery.”
Those were the words of an angered Independent TD, Mattie McGrath, who spoke during a Dáil debate on Finance (Covid-19 and miscellaneous provisions) Bill 2022: second stage.
He told the house that Ireland has sold its sovereignty and is of the view that “everything in this country has been sold bar the kitchen sink”.
He said this crisis was “heading towards us in a gale force 9 storm before there was ever a shot fired or troop landed by Russia anywhere near Ukraine”.
McGrath added that “a perfect storm” was coming, and the government “insisted” on introducing a carbon tax.
During his speech, he described carbon tax as “punitive” and says it affects people in fuel poverty “more than anything else”.
McGrath stressed that people are “infuriated” with living costs and later referred to fuel prices.
“When diesel was €1.60, the tax collected was 60 cent,” he told the Dáil.
“If diesel is €2.60, the tax is €1.20, and if diesel goes to €3.60, which it could, the tax will be €1.80.”
“The more prices go up, the more the government takes in. This is daylight robbery.”
In essence, he said, “we are back in the days of the 1980s; people cannot survive”.
The deputy later made reference to the government’s move to temporarily reduce excise duties on petrol, diesel and marked mineral oil.
“The paltry measure the government came up with was a 20c cut in road diesel. Some businesses increased prices by 2c, and I condemn that fundamentally. It is a horrible thing to do.”
“It is price gouging. The government leaked the measure. Why did it not make a decision and announce it straight away so that companies could not increase prices?” he questioned.
“Some places increased prices by more than 20c last night. Prices went up three times today in one filling station I know,” he told the house.
“The farmers of Ireland are being asked to plough more. It now costs €300 to fill an average tractor, and that fuel would not last a day. AdBlue is required for modern tractors.”
“Who will be able to plough, sow, spray, mind, reap and harvest tillage crops if they do not have the fuel to do so?” he asked the house.