Dáil debates

Tuesday, 21 March 2023

Finance Bill 2023: Second Stage


6:45 pm

Photo of Danny Healy-RaeDanny Healy-Rae (Kerry, Independent) | Oireachtas source

I am glad to have this opportunity. The cost of electricity is very punitive and is hurting many people, especially those in rural Ireland, because they have no options when it comes to electricity for heating and all the other appliances. They find themselves hit so hard. The Government has been asked several times to put a cap on this and it will not do it. I honestly believe now that the Government is satisfied with the way things are going because it is getting more tax out of it. The more profit and the more VAT collected by these companies and handed over to the Government in tax, the better it is doing, at the expense of people, especially elderly people, who really need electricity. Then the Green Party's leader, the Minister, Deputy Eamon Ryan, had the gall to try to stop people cutting turf. Those are the people who have a bit of heat, and I will stand by them for as long as I am elected here. I appreciate those people who do their best in the summer months to collect enough turf to tide them over until the winter. A lot of this winter was very cold and people who did not have a fire certainly would not want to be perishing with the cold. Fuel poverty is a big thing, and they are driven to it by the cost of everything, including the cost of heating oil.

The big gripe I have is about green diesel. Green diesel, before the war, which has been blamed for everything, was 38 cent a litre. Then it went up at the same rate as white diesel, maybe, and was at approximately 90 cent per litre for a number of weeks. Then, all of a sudden, it was driven up to €1.40 a litre and it is still hovering around €1.20 a litre all the time. That has the effect of driving up the cost of agricultural produce because you cannot do anything on a farm without a tractor. The sooner the Government realises that when it drives up the farmer's costs, it drives up the cost of the food being put on the consumer's table or the housewife's table, the better. Then the Government says that it will claw back the increases on road diesel and petrol. That will hurt every man, woman and child working in rural Ireland, hitting rural Ireland more than any other place.


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