Dáil debates

Wednesday, 24 November 2021

Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions


12:02 pm

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)

First, energy price increases are almost totally driven by global price rises which are being felt in Europe and across the world. The rebounding of international economies has led to supply chain constraints and real pressure on gas and oil prices. That is the fundamental driver here. It is a global phenomenon and is not unique to Ireland in any shape or form.

There is a diesel rebate scheme in operation which was introduced in 2013. It offers a partial excise refund to qualifying operators when the retail price of autodiesel is relatively high. It kicks in at the pumps at around €1.23 per litre, increasing gradually to a maximum rebate of 7.5 cent when diesel reaches €1.43 per litre. In budget 2022, in light of the challenges arising from Brexit and uncertainty facing the industry, the marginal rate of compensation at prices over €1.32 was doubled up to the maximum rate of 7.5 cent per litre. That is being maintained. The Government and the Department is in constant contact with the Irish Truckers and Haulage Association and the industry relative to broader issues pertaining to the industry, including a new strategy, the requirements for the sector going forward in terms of skills, for example, and the energy prices issue. The latter is a serious issue across the board and there is no denying that. As I said, it is a global phenomenon arising from the price of raw materials, exchange rates, taxation and so on.

The carbon tax is a very small part of what is going on at the moment in terms of the global phenomenon. It is lacking in balance to throw that into the mix and to suggest that it is the main reason for the significant increase in energy prices across Europe. The carbon tax is part of the climate change agenda and while it is not popular to do things like that, it is the right thing to do for the future of younger generations in this country in terms of dealing with climate change along with a whole range of other issues. Everyone wants to pull decision making in relation to climate change and everyone, including Deputy McDonald, wants to keep deferring decisions that the very best of advice is suggesting are necessary-----


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