A Laois TD has called on the Government to halt the May increase on Carbon Tax in order ‘not to heap further pressure on rural communities’.
An increase to carbon tax on home heating fuels is due to come into effect on May 1 – with the increase on transport fuels scheduled for October 12.
Funds raised through the increase are being ring-fenced for just transition measures – including targeted social welfare initiatives to prevent fuel poverty and State investment in the national retrofitting programme.
The tax is due to increase by €7.50 per tonne every year until 2029 and by €6.50 in 2030 – taking it to €100 per tonne.
Sinn Fein TD Brian Stanley said made the comments in the Dail recently where he called the tax ‘unfair’.
Deputy Stanley said: “The carbon tax as it is designed is an unfair tax. It is punishing ordinary workers and families who lack disposable income to pay the extortionate costs of retrofitting their homes or purchasing an electric car.
“The point is that you cannot tax people to stop them doing something if they do not have an alternative or cannot afford the alternative.
“Why are grants not being made available to buy second-hand electric cars, for example? It is difficult to imagine a better example of how out of touch the Green Party and the Government are with the needs of ordinary people at the moment.”
Deputy Stanley then gave an example of how one of his constituents have already seen their bills increase massively.
He said: “I recently, had a conversation with a constituent, one of the many who are finding it difficult to cope with how the Government has been playing its part in escalating and driving up the price of essentials.
“The constituent told me it is now costing between €70 and €80 a week more to heat their home. There are families who have a clear choice between food and heat. Eat or heat; which is it?
“The Minister of State need not take our word for it. He should ask the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. Its representatives will tell him what the situation is. I have spoken to people working for that organisation and people working in food banks.
“The cost of fuel for a car to travel to work is now at its highest level in 30 years. It is getting close to €2 per litre.
“People in rural areas such as Laois-Offaly are being hit hardest. There is no DART, Luas or bus service there. That is the simple fact of it. In some places, the roads are not great.
“Some people living in Laois-Offaly who commute to work are now paying €150 in fuel to do so. Much of the responsibility for the cost of fuel in this country, though not all of it, lies with the Government. Well over one third of the cost of every litre of motor fuel is accounted for by tax. That is even before the carbon tax is introduced in May.’’
Speaking after a Sinn Fein motion to halt the hike was defeated in the Dail, Deputy Stanley branded the move as ‘not climate action’.
He said: “This is not climate action; it is penalising poor working people, as well as disproportionately penalising people in rural areas. The planned increase in carbon tax in May needs to be halted.
“Sinn Féin has put forward many proposals relating to climate change in the 11 years since I came into this House but it received a very poor response to a lot of those proposals to move to a more sustainable society.
“We put forward measures that would create jobs and generate power without using fossil fuel. That is where we need to be going, rather than punishing people who are least able to play.”
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