Finance Minister 'open' to increasing carbon tax in future budgets

The decision to not raise the tax for 2019 has led to widespread criticism from opposition parties and environmental groups

Finance Minister 'open' to increasing carbon tax in future budgets

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe. Photo: Sam Boal /RollingNews.ie

The Finance Minister says he's open to increasing the carbon tax in future budgets.

The government has come under heavy criticism for removing the measure after pressure from some in Fine Gael.

It would have meant an increase in the cost of petrol, diesel and coal.

A number of opposition parties and environmental groups have criticised the Government's 'u-turn' on the increase.

Many highlighted the major UN report released only a day before the Budget, which urged the world to take 'unprecedented action' to work towards limiting global warming.

Fianna Fáil's Timmy Dooley observed: “Budget 2019 is a do-nothing budget on climate change.

"It fails to put in place the legislative, taxation and spending changes needed to make a real and discernible impact in the fight against climate change."

Phil Kearney, chair of An Taisce's Climate Change Committee, suggested taking the carbon tax increase off the table represented a "disaster for an already-failing climate policy regime".

Paschal Donohoe says it's a measure he could not get support for this time around.

He observed: "I am open to in 2019 try to gain agreement within the Dáil regarding a long-term approach to carbon pricing.

"I think it's indispensable that we have that long-term approach before we begin a sequence of moves - and my judgement is that consensus is not there at the moment."

In his Dáil speech yesterday, Minister Donohoe said that the Government will invest more than €164 million in "targeted measures to achieve Ireland’s energy efficiency and renewable energy objectives" next year.