Supports that were introduced to address cost of living measures cannot be kept “forever” the Tánaiste Micheál Martin has said as cuts to Government excise charges begin to reverse from midnight tonight.
“We’ve extended those cuts on two occasions already, and this is the first phase of the phasing out of those cuts that we brought in at the height of the cuts,” he told RTÉ radio’s News at One.
“The overall prices around diesel and petrol have come down somewhat over the last 12 months, but I think we do need to move into a different phase of dealing with cost of living issues, and we do acknowledge that there are still cost of living issues and indeed some of the measures will still be there in respect of child benefit, for example, in respect of education costs and we’ll be reducing them significantly, such as the provision of free primary books.
Mr Martin denied that this was an unfair measure. Core inflation was coming down as he’d been told during a briefing with the Department of Finance this week, he said.
“I actually think we need to allocate resources, as we’ve been doing consistently, to reduce the cost of public services in education and in health and in child care, which matters to families in particular.
“I think it is about how we prioritise our supports for people in the context of just the cost of living situation, which is brought about by the war in Ukraine and the broader issue of coming back after Covid and the supply chain disruptions. So there are issues there.
“We don’t want that, but I don’t think we can keep the level of support in terms of the cuts to the excise duty that could not be extended forever. It was never intended that they would be there on an ongoing basis. So I do think in the preparation for this year’s budget, after the summer recess, we do need to be identifying where should we target, where should we prioritise our resources.”
However, Michael Kilcoyne of the Consumers Association said that the Government had “much more cash in their coffers” than they had when the excise duty cut was imposed.
Petrol and diesel prices set to rise as excise dut…
“We have a situation where the Exchequer has billions of euro, and yet they want to take it further, In total, of almost 20 cents between the three increases.”
“The increases could cost some people, many of them on fixed incomes, up to €40 per month, he warned. It might be okay for the Tánaiste who lived in Cork and the Taoiseach who lived in Dublin where there was good public transport, but people in rural Ireland needed the car to get to the doctor, or the post office, they had no other way of travelling.
“Many of these people, like pensioners, people with disabilities, carers and so on, are on a fixed income.” They had no alternative but to pay this “penal tax”.
“It’s not right and it’s not fair.”