Sinn Féin has urged the Government to intervene in the energy market and cut bills for consumers.
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the cost of fossil fuels soared as nations scrambled to divest themselves of Russian oil and gas.
The profits of energy companies have also increased and the Government introduced a windfall tax that is expected to raise between €280 million and €600 million in revenue.
Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty said the Government had been “basically forced” to introduce the windfall by Brussels and said further action is required.
“When Leo Varadkar said in March he was going to intervene if energy companies did not reduce their costs, I’m saying, ‘Show me the money,’” he told Newstalk Breakfast.
“When are you going to intervene? What are you going to do?”
Deputy Doherty said one solution was for the Government to introduce a price cap that would limit the amount energy companies could charge their customers.
“In relation to a cap, I make this point, there are Greens involved in Governments right across Europe and these types of caps are there,” he said.
“There are measures that you can introduce in terms of a cap, for example, that it only applies to a certain portion of the normal energy consumption of a household that supports the idea of conservation.”
Wholesale gas prices have fallen in recent months but energy prices in Ireland are not predicted to drop for some months yet.
“Energy companies were telling me they were hedging - which means they were buying their energy in advance,” Deputy Doherty said.
“It’s usually about eight months… but what we’ve seen here - which is unusual - is that not energy company, in the main, has reduced their domestic energy prices for anybody.
“Despite the fact that the peak that we’ve seen in terms of energy costs right across Europe happened last October.”
In the long-term, Government policy is to reduce Ireland’s dependence on international gas by generating more energy from local renewable sources.
Main image: Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty speaking to the media. Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews