The upcoming carbon tax increase “couldn’t come at a worse time for families” and should be scrapped, according to Sinn Féin.
An increase to carbon tax on home heating fuels is due to come into effect on May 1st – with the increase on transport fuels scheduled for October 12th.
Funds raised through the increase are being ring-fenced for just transition measures – including targeted social welfare initiatives to prevent fuel poverty and State investment in the national retrofitting programme.
The tax is due to increase by €7.50 per tonne every year until 2029 and by €6.50 in 2030 – taking it to €100 per tonne.
Sinn Féin will this evening table a motion calling for the May increase to be scrapped due to the ongoing cost of living crisis.
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, Sinn Féin finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty said the motion recognises the huge increase in energy prices over the last year.
He said the price of home-heating has increased by more than 50% while the price of gas is up nearly 30%.
“This is a huge burden and what we need from government as we have been calling for, for the last number of weeks, is a proper cost of living package,” he said. “But what we also need from Government is for them to ensure they don’t make matters worse.”
“That is what they are planning to do on May 1st. Within three months, they plan to increase the cost of gas and increase the cost of home heating oil further by increasing carbon tax.
“We believe it is absolutely the wrong decision. It couldn’t come at a worse time for families and therefore, the motion before the Dáil this evening is about ensuring that increase is stopped.”
He said scrapping the May increase would lose the Exchequer about €32m – an amount he believes could be easily recouped through other measures.
“If the Government believes the only way you can fund this is through carbon tax, I think that is a non-starter,” he said.
“We have to recognise that those who are actually the biggest contributors to carbon in the world, including in Ireland, are those at the top level.
“For example, the bottom 50% of households actually only omit 10% of carbon compared to the top 10% of households, who make up 47%.
“That is where this needs to be targeted. Stop targeting, as the Government are planning to do in May, by pushing up oil and pushing up gas on ordinary families.”
Cost of living
Deputy Doherty also hit out at the Government’s recent Cost of Living package – noting that it was criticised by St Vincent de Paul, Social justice Ireland and one-parent family representatives.
“It wasn’t deep enough, it didn’t go far enough, it didn’t actually deal with where people are at right now,” he said.
“The fact that, for example, the energy credit was paid to somebody on a ministerial salary and someone who is going to SVP this evening at the same level actually speaks volumes. The fact we are spending €12m on holiday homes again speaks volumes.
“What we should have done is target individual payments, as has been done in the North and other areas, to individuals who are most at need.
“That didn’t happen, that hasn’t happened; we still need a package like that, but what we crucially need is to not make things worse.”
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