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Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 23 Mar 2022

Vol. 1019 No. 7

Rising Energy Costs: Motion (Resumed) [Private Members]

I must now deal with a postponed division on amendment No. 2 to the motion on rising energy costs.

The following motion was moved by Deputy Clare Kerrane on Tuesday, 22 March 2022:
That Dáil Éireann:
notes that:
— the cost of household energy is spiralling, with more than 30 different price increase announcements from Irish energy suppliers over the past year;
— costs have risen by around €500 for an average household, with energy suppliers announcing further rises next month;
— home heating oil has increased in price by over €1,000 for 1,000 litres this year;
— Bord Gáis Energy have announced price rises of up to 39 per cent next month;
— the price of coal increased by €4.50 per bag last week and is anticipated to increase by a further €2.50 at the beginning of April;
— according to the Government's most recent strategy to tackle energy poverty, up to 28 per cent of households in Ireland are in or at risk of energy poverty, equivalent to some 475,000 households;
— the Society of St. Vincent de Paul has had a 49 per cent increase in the number of requests for help with energy costs in February 2022, compared to the same period last year;
— a recent RED C poll from January 2022 found that 37 per cent of people have cut back on essential heating and electricity use, and 17 per cent have cut back on other essentials such as food; and
— there are currently no supports for the vast majority of workers and families to assist with rising heating costs;
further notes that:
— the Government's recent measures to reduce excise duty do not extend to home heating oil;
— the Fuel Allowance is only available to limited households and does not include those on the Working Family Payment (WFP);
— the Government have continually insisted that households can seek support for energy costs through the Exceptional Needs Payment (ENP), yet those working 30 hours per week or more cannot avail of this; and
— the carbon tax increase in May will further increase the price of home heating oil, gas and solid fuels; and
calls on the Government to take appropriate emergency action, to include:
— the introduction of a "cost of living cash payment" of €200 for every adult with an income less than €30,000 and €100 for every adult with an income between €30,000 and €60,000;
— the further reduction of excise duty on petrol and diesel;
— the securing of a derogation from the European Commission in order to reduce Value Added Tax on bills temporarily and as required;
— the removal of the excise duty on home heating oil for a temporary period;
— the extension of Fuel Allowance eligibility to those who are in receipt of the WFP;
— the establishment of a discretionary fund of €15 million, to assist households with utility debt;
— the relaxation of the rules for the ENP, including the 30 hour working rule on a temporary basis;
— the collection of data from Community Welfare Officers on the number of requests received for assistance under the ENP; and
— the cancellation of the increase in carbon tax scheduled for 1st May.
Debate resumed on amendment No. 2:
To delete all words after "That Dáil Éireann" and substitute the following:
"notes that:
— the annual rate of consumer price inflation, as measured by the European Union's harmonised index of consumer prices, picked up sharply over the course of last year, and stood at 5.7 per cent in February;
— the key drivers of this increase are increases in wholesale energy prices as a result of the rapid rebound in global demand, global supply chain disruptions and the imbalance between demand and supply that emerged as the economy re-opened;
— more recently, as a result of the war in Ukraine and Russia's role in global energy supply, oil and gas prices have risen further and these increases will feed into higher inflation over the coming months;
— pass-through price effects are expected in other sectors, such as food via increases in the cost of fertilisers and fuel for example;
— Budget 2022 contained a large range of measures to protect households from the rising cost of living, including a personal income tax package worth €520 million and a social welfare package of over €550 million;
— in addition to the Budget 2022 measures announced in October last, the Government last month approved a further package of measures to the value of €505 million to mitigate the cost of living, including an increase in the energy credit to €200 including Value Added Tax (VAT), estimated to impact just over two million households;
— a lump sum payment of €125 on the Fuel Allowance will be paid to 390,000 recipients;
— there will be a temporary reduction in public transport fares of 20 per cent from the end of April to the end of the year, and this will impact approximately 800,000 daily users of Bus Éireann, Iarnród Éireann, Dublin Bus, Go Ahead, Luas, Dublin Area Rapid Transit (DART) and Local Link services;
— a reduction of the Drugs Payment Scheme from €144 to €80 will benefit just over 70,000 families;
— the Budget increase to the Working Family Payment will be brought forward from 1st June to 1st April;
— there are reduced caps for multiple children on school transport fees to €500 per family post-primary and €150 for primary school children;
— a further package of measures, to the value of €320 million, was introduced with effect from 10th March reducing the excise duty on petrol, diesel and marked gas oil by 20, 15 and 2 cent per litre respectively;
— an €18 million package of emergency support measures for licensed hauliers to address cost pressures arising from current high fuel prices has been announced; and
— the Government has engaged with the European Commission seeking further flexibility around the VAT and Excise Directives; and
recognises that:
— carbon tax is a key pillar underpinning the Government's Climate Action Plan 2021 to halve emissions by 2030 and reach net zero no later than 2050;
— the Programme for Government: Our Shared Future committed to increasing carbon tax and the Finance Act 2020 provides for a 10-year trajectory for carbon tax increases to reach €100 per tonne of CO2 by 2030;
— a significant portion of carbon tax revenue is allocated for expenditure on targeted welfare measures and energy efficiency measures, which not only support the most vulnerable households in society but also in the long-term provide support against fuel price impacts by reducing our reliance on fossil fuels;
— analysis undertaken using SWITCH – the ESRI tax and benefit model – to simulate the impact of the carbon tax increase and the compensatory welfare package has confirmed that the net impact of the combined measures is progressive and households in the bottom four income deciles will see all of the cost of the carbon tax increase offset, with the bottom three deciles being better off as a result of these measures; and
— in the long run, the best way to protect Ireland from the impact of international fossil fuel prices is to reduce our dependence on them, and we will achieve this through the progressive decarbonisation of Irish society and through the steps that will be taken to meet the Government's commitment to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
-(Minister of State at the Department of Finance)
Amendment put:
The Dáil divided: Tá, 60; Níl, 56; Staon, 0.

  • Browne, James.
  • Bruton, Richard.
  • Burke, Colm.
  • Butler, Mary.
  • Byrne, Thomas.
  • Cahill, Jackie.
  • Calleary, Dara.
  • Carey, Joe.
  • Carroll MacNeill, Jennifer.
  • Chambers, Jack.
  • Coveney, Simon.
  • Cowen, Barry.
  • Creed, Michael.
  • Devlin, Cormac.
  • Dillon, Alan.
  • Duffy, Francis Noel.
  • Durkan, Bernard J.
  • Farrell, Alan.
  • Feighan, Frankie.
  • Fleming, Sean.
  • Foley, Norma.
  • Griffin, Brendan.
  • Harris, Simon.
  • Haughey, Seán.
  • Higgins, Emer.
  • Hourigan, Neasa.
  • Humphreys, Heather.
  • Kehoe, Paul.
  • Lahart, John.
  • Lawless, James.
  • Leddin, Brian.
  • MacSharry, Marc.
  • Madigan, Josepha.
  • Matthews, Steven.
  • McAuliffe, Paul.
  • McConalogue, Charlie.
  • McGrath, Michael.
  • McHugh, Joe.
  • Moynihan, Aindrias.
  • Moynihan, Michael.
  • Noonan, Malcolm.
  • O'Brien, Darragh.
  • O'Brien, Joe.
  • O'Callaghan, Jim.
  • O'Connor, James.
  • O'Dea, Willie.
  • O'Donnell, Kieran.
  • O'Gorman, Roderic.
  • O'Sullivan, Christopher.
  • O'Sullivan, Pádraig.
  • Ó Cathasaigh, Marc.
  • Ó Cuív, Éamon.
  • Rabbitte, Anne.
  • Richmond, Neale.
  • Ring, Michael.
  • Smyth, Niamh.
  • Smyth, Ossian.
  • Stanton, David.
  • Troy, Robert.
  • Varadkar, Leo.

Níl

  • Andrews, Chris.
  • Bacik, Ivana.
  • Barry, Mick.
  • Boyd Barrett, Richard.
  • Brady, John.
  • Browne, Martin.
  • Buckley, Pat.
  • Cairns, Holly.
  • Canney, Seán.
  • Carthy, Matt.
  • Collins, Joan.
  • Collins, Michael.
  • Conway-Walsh, Rose.
  • Cronin, Réada.
  • Crowe, Seán.
  • Cullinane, David.
  • Doherty, Pearse.
  • Donnelly, Paul.
  • Ellis, Dessie.
  • Farrell, Mairéad.
  • Fitzpatrick, Peter.
  • Guirke, Johnny.
  • Healy-Rae, Danny.
  • Healy-Rae, Michael.
  • Howlin, Brendan.
  • Kenny, Gino.
  • Kenny, Martin.
  • Kerrane, Claire.
  • Mac Lochlainn, Pádraig.
  • McNamara, Michael.
  • Mitchell, Denise.
  • Munster, Imelda.
  • Murphy, Catherine.
  • Murphy, Paul.
  • Murphy, Verona.
  • Mythen, Johnny.
  • Nash, Ged.
  • Nolan, Carol.
  • O'Callaghan, Cian.
  • O'Donoghue, Richard.
  • O'Reilly, Louise.
  • O'Rourke, Darren.
  • Ó Broin, Eoin.
  • Ó Laoghaire, Donnchadh.
  • Ó Murchú, Ruairí.
  • Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.
  • Quinlivan, Maurice.
  • Ryan, Patricia.
  • Shortall, Róisín.
  • Smith, Bríd.
  • Smith, Duncan.
  • Stanley, Brian.
  • Tóibín, Peadar.
  • Tully, Pauline.
  • Ward, Mark.
  • Whitmore, Jennifer.

Staon

Tellers: Tá, Deputies Jack Chambers and Brendan Griffin; Níl, Deputies Pádraig Mac Lochlainn and Denise Mitchell.
Amendment declared carried.
Question put: "That the motion, as amended, be agreed to."
The Dáil divided: Tá, 60; Níl, 56; Staon, 0.

  • Browne, James.
  • Bruton, Richard.
  • Burke, Colm.
  • Butler, Mary.
  • Byrne, Thomas.
  • Cahill, Jackie.
  • Calleary, Dara.
  • Carey, Joe.
  • Carroll MacNeill, Jennifer.
  • Chambers, Jack.
  • Coveney, Simon.
  • Cowen, Barry.
  • Creed, Michael.
  • Devlin, Cormac.
  • Dillon, Alan.
  • Duffy, Francis Noel.
  • Durkan, Bernard J.
  • Farrell, Alan.
  • Feighan, Frankie.
  • Fleming, Sean.
  • Foley, Norma.
  • Griffin, Brendan.
  • Harris, Simon.
  • Haughey, Seán.
  • Higgins, Emer.
  • Hourigan, Neasa.
  • Humphreys, Heather.
  • Kehoe, Paul.
  • Lahart, John.
  • Lawless, James.
  • Leddin, Brian.
  • MacSharry, Marc.
  • Madigan, Josepha.
  • Matthews, Steven.
  • McAuliffe, Paul.
  • McConalogue, Charlie.
  • McGrath, Michael.
  • McHugh, Joe.
  • Moynihan, Aindrias.
  • Moynihan, Michael.
  • Noonan, Malcolm.
  • O'Brien, Darragh.
  • O'Brien, Joe.
  • O'Callaghan, Jim.
  • O'Connor, James.
  • O'Dea, Willie.
  • O'Donnell, Kieran.
  • O'Gorman, Roderic.
  • O'Sullivan, Christopher.
  • O'Sullivan, Pádraig.
  • Ó Cathasaigh, Marc.
  • Ó Cuív, Éamon.
  • Rabbitte, Anne.
  • Richmond, Neale.
  • Ring, Michael.
  • Smyth, Niamh.
  • Smyth, Ossian.
  • Stanton, David.
  • Troy, Robert.
  • Varadkar, Leo.

Níl

  • Andrews, Chris.
  • Bacik, Ivana.
  • Barry, Mick.
  • Boyd Barrett, Richard.
  • Brady, John.
  • Browne, Martin.
  • Buckley, Pat.
  • Cairns, Holly.
  • Canney, Seán.
  • Carthy, Matt.
  • Collins, Joan.
  • Collins, Michael.
  • Conway-Walsh, Rose.
  • Cronin, Réada.
  • Crowe, Seán.
  • Cullinane, David.
  • Doherty, Pearse.
  • Donnelly, Paul.
  • Ellis, Dessie.
  • Farrell, Mairéad.
  • Fitzpatrick, Peter.
  • Guirke, Johnny.
  • Healy-Rae, Danny.
  • Healy-Rae, Michael.
  • Howlin, Brendan.
  • Kenny, Gino.
  • Kenny, Martin.
  • Kerrane, Claire.
  • Mac Lochlainn, Pádraig.
  • McNamara, Michael.
  • Mitchell, Denise.
  • Munster, Imelda.
  • Murphy, Catherine.
  • Murphy, Paul.
  • Murphy, Verona.
  • Mythen, Johnny.
  • Nash, Ged.
  • Nolan, Carol.
  • O'Callaghan, Cian.
  • O'Donoghue, Richard.
  • O'Reilly, Louise.
  • O'Rourke, Darren.
  • Ó Broin, Eoin.
  • Ó Laoghaire, Donnchadh.
  • Ó Murchú, Ruairí.
  • Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.
  • Quinlivan, Maurice.
  • Ryan, Patricia.
  • Shortall, Róisín.
  • Smith, Bríd.
  • Smith, Duncan.
  • Stanley, Brian.
  • Tóibín, Peadar.
  • Tully, Pauline.
  • Ward, Mark.
  • Whitmore, Jennifer.

Staon

Tellers: Tá, Deputies Jack Chambers and Brendan Griffin; Níl, Deputies Pádraig Mac Lochlainn and Denise Mitchell.
Question declared carried.
Cuireadh an Dáil ar athló ar 9.47 p.m. go dtí 9 a.m., Déardaoin, an 24 Márta 2022.
The Dáil adjourned at 9.47 p.m. until 9 a.m. on Thursday, 24 March 2022.
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