Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys has admitted that the Government needs to do more to tackle the rising cost of living:
“Government recognises that the cost of living has gone up,” Minister Humphreys told The Hard Shoulder.
“We do live in the real world and we do recognise that.
“And we know that energy costs have increased and what we’re doing is myself, Minister [for Finance Paschal] Donohue and Minister [for Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform] Michael McGrath will sit down with the Taoiseach, the Tánaiste and Minister Ryan and we’ll put together support for people.
“And not just people on social welfare, it’s people who are out working and are finding it very difficult to [meet] the rising energy costs and we are going to put a package of support together.”
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However, Minister Humphreys declined to say what exact measures were being discussed but said the details would be finalised and made public over the next few weeks.
“We want to get it right, we started with a €113 [energy rebate] and we accept that’s not enough, so we’re going to do more,” she continued.
“We want to get it right and just give us a little bit of time and we’ll work it out and we’ll do the right thing.”
The cost of living crisis, Minister Humphreys stressed, was not something that was unique to Ireland and was a phenomenon sweeping across the world:
“The cost of living increases, they’re not just confined to Ireland, it’s right across the board,” she said.
“So the cost of oil has gone up and that’s a big contributor and the demand has increased.”
However, she did seem to rule out one measure - supported by Sinn Féin - and that was scrapping the carbon tax, insisting it was necessary to tackle climate change:
“What I would say is, it’s Government policy to try and reduce the dependence on fossil fuels. And that has been seen across Europe as one measure that does change behaviour.”
Main image: Minister Heather Humphreys outside Leinster House ahead of the 2021 Fine Gael Ard Fheis. Picture by: Leah Farrell / RollingNews.ie.