“People are at their wits’ end trying to stay on the road,” – that was the urgent message Independent TD, Danny Healy-Rae, conveyed to the government in the Dáil earlier this week when discussing rising fuel prices.
The deputy called on the government to act immediately when he raised the matter during Leaders’ Questions on Wednesday, June 29th, 2022.
He told the chamber that people are “paying more and suffering more”. “I am asking the minister to act now and give them back a sizeable amount of the extra tax the government has taken.”
“The government is taking almost double in tax now from fuel than it did 12 months ago,” he claimed.
“Surely, it is time to give back some of the extra tax it has taken to the people on the road?”
Healy-Rae said, “there is talk” of mini-budgets and emergency budgets, but the government said the “normal budget time is when it will be dealt with, but these are not normal times”.
He told the chamber that “people need to stay going” and October is too far away.
He stressed that the issue of the cost of fuel is impacting everyone on the road, from those travelling to work, filling lorries to transport goods or a construction work vehicle.
“The increase in the cost of fuel is massive. The pumps along the road tell the story, with prices at €2.15-€2.20/L. Farmers are paying €1.60-€1.70/L for green diesel.”
He told the chamber that work is slowing, and people building new houses – including those constructing one-off houses – are “pausing and wondering what they will do”.
The deputy said that rising fuel prices have forced trawlers, taxi and haulage firms to park up “because it is not worth their while”, while bus operators are “tied” in contracts.
He continued: “People are paying to try to stay on the road and fill their cars or other vehicles. They are not paying normal prices now.”
“The government must keep work going, and this is the time to intervene. We recognise that the government gave back 15-20c/L on fuel a couple of months ago, but that is not enough now.”
“Fuel prices have gone way up again. It is now time to intervene and ensure that work stays going.”
“The government will reap the dividends if work continues anyway, but if it stops, the government will not even get core taxes because people will not be on the road. They cannot stay going, and that is the honest truth.”
“The government is not aware of how serious the matter is and how people are suffering,” he concluded.
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