Energy companies are using the Ukraine war as cover to make ‘absolutely immoral’ profits off the Irish people.
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, The Irish Senior Citizens Parliament (ISCP) CEO Sue Shaw said we urgently need a cap on energy prices and a windfall tax on company profits.
She said her some of her members have lived through previous wars and are well aware of the profiteering that goes along with it but said it is immoral for companies to be making huge profits when their customers are struggling to put food on the table.
It comes after the Consumers Association of Ireland slammed the blatant profiteering of Irish energy companies and the UN Secretary General hit out at the ‘grotesque greed’ of oil and gas companies.
“At the end of the day, war has always been a cover for major profits – always,” said Ms Shaw.
“But these kinds of profits are immoral and many of our members and their families are saying, hold on a minute, we trust in our Government to act in our best interest.
“we’re saying, is there no way, not only of taxing some of that windfall but is there not a way of seriously reducing the profit intake.”
Last week, Bord Gáis energy announced that its operating profits surged 74% in the first half of this year.
Meanwhile, The Irish Times reports that Irish energy companies are now making more than six times more money off windfarm energy than was predicted two years ago.
Ms Shaw said the ISCP ‘strongly supports’ the idea of a windfall tax and is calling on the Government to cap prices in an effective way.
She said the most important thing is ensuring that revenue from any windfall tax is targeted at those who need it most.
“We strongly would support the windfall tax,” she said. “We think there’s no changing the reality of the cost of fuel in the current crisis. So therefore, if they work ahead with the windfall tax, we’re saying well, what’s going to happen to it?
“We’re very clear about where it is needed and where it should be targeted. There should be no surprise to anybody that the coming winter is creating major anxiety and concern for people, particularly those on social welfare in relation to the cost of fuel.
“So, we’re saying, OK if the taxes are there, how can we see it targeted towards supporting energy fuel costs.”
The Taoiseach Micheál Martin has pledged to consider a tax on energy company profits in next month’s budget, but the Coalition has so far played down the prospect.
Ms Shaw said there is no doubt that her members will face choices between food and warmth this winter.
“It is beyond a fear now for many of our members,” she said. “That’s now a reality. They’re facing into that.
“We have one woman and she was asked about how she is going to manage and she said, there was a sale on in town and I bought another duvet. I’m not going to be able heat my home throughout the day.
“The reality is that people are planning that. Energy costs are impacting on the food their eating habits.
“Meanwhile, we’re talking about these major, major profits so for me there is no match and the kind of money you are talking about is such a far cry from the reality of people’s experiences.”
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