The cost-of-living measures announced last night are simply “tinkering around the edges” of the crisis, according to the Labour Party.
Government last night announced around €300m in new spending – including a €200 energy grant for every home in the country, which is likely to be paid in April.
Everyone in receipt of the fuel allowance will also get a one-off €125 lump sum in or around St Patrick’s Day.
It takes the total spend on easing the cost-of-living crisis to around €1.3bn when the €1bn announced in October’s budget is included.
Despite the spend, opposition parties have criticised the package – insisting it barely scratches the surface of the crisis.
"Tinkering around the edges"
Labour enterprise and trade spokesperson Aodhán Ó Ríordáin told Newstalk Government will have to come back with more measures later in the year.
“It is now turned into an emergency,” he said.
“It is quite clear we are going to need a mini-budget. We are going to need an awful lot more than the moneys that were announced last night.
“They are tinkering around the edges rather than having a proper analysis of why the cost of living in Ireland has turned into an emergency.”
He said the current package is simply not enough on its own.
“They are going to have to return to this because, quite clearly, the measures they have announced are not going to have the positive impact on people’s lives we need to see,” he said.
“There is still no sign of a rent freeze which is really having a massive impact on people’s lives.”
The package also includes moves to make school transport cheaper, lower the contribution to the drug payment scheme and increase the working family payment.
While people who drive will see nothing on their petrol and diesel bills, there will be 20% per cent off public transport fares – a measure that is likely to kick in at the end of April.
The Greens are claiming it as a big win, but Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath said it will only be in force until the end of the year, pending a review of state-backed transport.
“We discussed this at length. The move is consistent with policy, but we do have to assess the underlying PSO position in relation the sustainability of public transport services into the future before making any longer-term decisions.
“So, it is a temporary solution until the end of the year.”
Sinn Féin has said the cost-of-living package is not sufficient – insisting that what was required was an ambitious policy to tackle runaway rents.
The Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said many elements of the package are tailored to the people that need it most – with everyone set to benefit from the €200 energy grant.
Minister Donohoe will discuss the package on Newstalk Breakfast this morning.
Additional reporting from Seán Defoe.