Dáil debates

Thursday, 10 March 2022

Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions


12:00 pm

Photo of Pearse DohertyPearse Doherty (Donegal, Sinn Fein) | Oireachtas source

Aréir, thug an Rialtas isteach laghdú, mar a dtugadh air, ar pheitreal agus ar dhíosal agus an cháin atá á ghearradh orthu sin ach ag dul trasna aon stáisiún peitril ar maidin, ní thabharfadh aon duine faoi deara é, mar go bhfuil an praghas sa chuid is mó de na stáisiúin inniu níos daoire ná mar a bhí sé ar maidin Dé Mháirt. Tá go leor acu go fóill ag iarraidh níos mó ná €2 an lítear ar pheitreal agus ar dhíosal. Ní dhearna an Rialtas aon rud ó thaobh an cháin atá á gearradh acu ó thaobh ola tithe. Gan dabht, d’fhéadfaí níos mó a dhéanamh ach chuir an Rialtas seo i gcoinne leasuithe Shinn Féin a d’fhágfadh go mbeadh na praghsanna seo níos ísle.

Last night, the Government introduced a so-called reduction in excise duty on petrol and diesel, but on passing any filling station this morning nobody would have noticed because prices in most filling stations this morning are higher than they were on Tuesday morning, with many still charging over €2 per litre. The reduction has been immediately eroded. That is the likely trajectory. Prices will continue to rise, which is something ordinary workers and families simply cannot afford because it comes on top of already skyrocketing costs of living.

People are panicking. They are struggling to make ends meet. The Government does not seem to understand that. It does not seem to understand the pressure that workers and families are under and that businesses and farmers and now being pushed to the pin of their collar. Half measures simply does not cut it. The Government could have done more. Instead, last night it opposed Sinn Féin's amendments that would have brought prices at the pump down further. The fact the Government did not do that is indicative that it is completely out of touch. There were no measures, none whatsoever, to reduce the cost of home heating oil, which has more than doubled since January of this year. That could have been reduced by as much as €100 on a 1,000 litre fill but there was no reduction. Worse than that, the Government plans to increase the cost of home heating oil by a further €20 on 1 May.

Supporting our amendments last night would have delivered for workers and families. Yesterday, the Taoiseach mislead the House in saying there is no excise on home heating oil. That is simply not true. The Minister for Finance in a written response to a parliamentary question from Deputy Verona Murphy referring to kerosene, which is home heating oil, said: "This excise duty is called mineral oil tax." We know that mineral oil tax on home heating oil is levied at over €84 per thousand litres. Excise on home heating oil can and must be reduced, thereby reducing the cost of a fill by up to €100. Excise on diesel can and should be reduced by more than 15 cent and excise on petrol needs to be reduced further than the 20 cent agreed last night.

The Government's claim that it is doing all it can simply does not stand up. More needs to be done. Much more needs to be done. The Minister, Deputy Ryan, has been advising people to slow down. Let me tell him what the public are telling me. They are telling me that that the Minister, Deputy Ryan, and the Government need to hurry up, get their act together and bring these prices down further because people can take it no longer. Will the Government commit to reducing excise duty further on petrol and diesel? Will it commit to taking action to reduce the cost of home heating oil immediately? Will it call on petrol stations, which undoubtedly are engaging in price gouging, at this time of crisis? Strong words at a parliamentary party meeting are not enough; we need action and we need action now. We need leadership.


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