An energy economist says Ireland 'just doesn't have' the ability to store gas as required by EU regulations.
Muireann Lynch from the ESRI was speaking after Taoiseach Micheál Martin admitted he's worried about the winter, as energy prices are set to climb higher.
While EU Commissioner Mairead McGuinness also cautioned this week that fuel rationing in Ireland 'could be' a reality in the autumn.
Ms Lynch told Newstalk Breakfast Ireland does not actually have the ability to store gas as it should.
"Under EU regulations, everybody is supposed to have 90 days worth of gas storage - and we just don't.
"The only gas storage that we have on the island really is under our feet; it's in the actual gas network itself."
Asked if it was short-sighted for Ireland not to have a storage facility, she says: "We certainly weren't envisaging a ginormous war in Europe.
"So in that sense I suppose we were short-sighted".
She explains that rationing is actually a measure to protect people.
"The reason we go for rationing is typically the way we ration goods around the economy is using the price mechanism.
"So the more you have of something, the lower the price goes - the less you have of something the higher the price goes.
"But of course the danger with that is when you get to real shortages, the price goes so very high that only very wealthy households can afford it.
"And given that energy is an essential good, that's not what we want.
"So the point behind rationing is actually to protect people, to ensure what we have gets shared around".
But Ms Lynch says any such approach would be a worst case scenario.
"I do want to just stress that this is very much last resort.
"This is kind of a 'In the worst case scenario, we may have to do this'.
"But an awful lot of it comes down to 'Can we get our storage supplies up this summer in preparation for the winter?'
"What people can actually do: if you can just cut back on your usage a bit, that actually all helps.
"It means that every molecule of gas and oil that we don't burn right now, that's another molecule of gas and oil that we can store for the winter - and hopefully avoid rationing, if it comes down to it".