Yesterday, I told the Taoiseach that surging fuel prices required that the Government take urgent action to relieve the immense pressure people are under. I appealed to him to bring forward a financial resolution to cut excise duty on petrol and diesel and to remove it entirely from home heating oil. I am very glad to see that good sense has prevailed and the Taoiseach accepts the need to act. Unfortunately, the Taoiseach's approach as set out does not go far enough. It is very important we get this right for people. The proposal I put to the Taoiseach yesterday was to reduce excise duty so that we get the price at the pumps down to €1.75 per litre. The cut proposed by the Taoiseach does not get us anywhere near this point. In fact, hikes overnight erode the benefit of the proposed cut. In many places, prices per litre jumped to as high as €2.20. This means even following the Government's proposed intervention, people will wake up tomorrow and still pay €2 per litre. The Taoiseach acknowledged yesterday that this is not sustainable for people, and it is not. They simply cannot afford €2 per litre today and they will not be able to afford it tomorrow.
I am very disappointed to see the proposal does nothing to bring down the outrageous price of home heating oil. As the Taoiseach knows, it has doubled in the past year and last night the price shot up again. People now face prices of between €800 and €900 for a half fill of oil. This is crazy. It is very stressful for workers and families trying to heat their homes. The energy and fuel costs are a disaster for hauliers, school transport companies, taxi drivers and everybody. They expect the Government to act speedily and decisively. Will the Taoiseach recalibrate the intervention to make it fit the realities of the crisis and deliver meaningful relief immediately?
I have received hundreds of messages this week from people regarding the real-life impact of these hikes. I want to mention two of them, two women as it happens. Amy, who has young children, told me she now chooses between driving the children to school or having a hot meal ready for them. She describes what she is experiencing as torture. She told me she has spent €120 on diesel in the past eight days alone. She told me her son has a hospital appointment on Monday and she seriously does not think she will be able to afford to take him even though he really needs to go. Lorraine, who is in the process of saving for a mortgage, says it is costing her and her partner an extra €50 a week each for fuel. This is a total of €100 a week in total. She has calculated this at €5,000 a year just to travel for work. She describes her situation as soul destroying.
Ní théann an chéim seo sách fada. Ní mór dúinn an praghas ag na pumpaí a fháil síos go €1.75 an lítear, agus ní mór don Rialtas gníomh práinneach a dhéanamh chun costas ola téimh a laghdú. This is the day to get this right. We will work with the Taoiseach to get this right. We cannot have delay or half measures. The financial resolution has to get the cost of petrol and diesel down to €1.75 per litre and keep it there, by further cuts in excise if necessary. We need action on home heating oil.