Chief of the Greens Eamon Ryan has vowed a proposed increase in the carbon tax must be implemented next month despite the rising cost of living.
s Backbench TDs of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael revolt over proposed raise, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said that nothing can be done without the support of all three parties in the coalition.
Mr Varadkar also warned that delaying the planned increase for May would mean double the pain in a few months.
The issue is likely to dominate political party meetings and the Dáil debate this week.
Mr Ryan said that Irish Independent last night that the increase in solid fuel and heating oil was a budgetary measure that had already been decided and approved by the Dáil.
“I prefer targeted action to help people living in fuel poverty – not a universal cut in fuel taxes,” he said.
But the minister said he would present measures to the government in the next two weeks to help people cut their energy bills.
Meanwhile, Mr Varadkar warned government rebels that not raising €7.50 per tonne of carbon emissions “means a double hike across the board in October or next May”.
The revenue raised will be used to partially fund the fuel surcharge, as well as retrofit warmer homes and greener schemes for farmers, the Fine Gael leader stressed.
“So the impact on those programs would also need to be considered,” he said.
Mr Varadkar and the Taoiseach face a challenge to the intended rise amid signs backbench discontent is spreading across the government.
They fear a suspension now would give a propaganda victory to Sinn Féin, which has been warning for months that the carbon tax hike cannot go through.
Sinn Féin boss Mary Lou McDonald is firmly opposed to the hike.
“What we don’t want is the imposition of further increases from households and families at a time when people are trying to cope with rising inflation,” she told RTÉ.
“It makes absolutely no sense for the state to propose raising these increases at a time when it knows families are really struggling. People make the choice between heating and eating.
“The rationale for carbon taxes is to incentivize overuse. It aims to change behavior. But rising inflation and the hardships families face are causing a huge change in behavior, with senior citizens staying in bed and families heating just one room. Things are that bad.”
A Taoiseach spokesman said: “The government is acutely aware of the challenges people are facing due to the war in Ukraine and the impact it is having on rising energy prices and the cost of living.
“That is why we have implemented measures worth over €2 billion since the budget.
“We cannot deal with this crisis week after week and the government is working with colleagues across the EU on measures to reduce high energy bills across Europe.”
Fine Gael TD John Paul Phelan has petitioned for the new charges to be dropped and has been publicly supported by two colleagues who spoke to the Irish Independent last night.
Former Rural Affairs Minister Michael Ring said current conditions had trumped the principle of the tax. Paul Kehoe, TD of Wexford Fine Gael, also spoke out in favor of halting carbon tax hikes.
Mr Varadkar said: “That is why we have parliamentary party meetings. It allows us to discuss current and emerging issues.”
But he warned that raising the carbon tax “is already regulated by law, so the government’s position can only be changed by agreement of all three parties”.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/politics/planned-carbon-tax-hike-will-go-ahead-despite-soaring-cost-of-living-41517515.html The planned increase in the CO2 tax will continue – despite the rising cost of living