THE PRICE OF solid fuels such as briquettes and coal will rise tomorrow, due to an increase in the carbon tax.
As of tomorrow, the level of the tax will double, adding around €1.20 to a 40kg bag of coal and 26 cent to a bale of briquettes. This will mean €2.40 of the €18 cost of coal will be tax, with 52 cent of a €5 bale of briquettes taken by the Exchequer.
Lobby groups had called for the increase to be deferred, but it will come into effect from 1 May.
It follows imposition of similar increases in May, 2013, when carbon tax was extended to solid fuel.
The move could impact on elderly people, it has been warned.
“The Government has a responsibility to protect the most vulnerable of older people,” says Eamon Timmins of Age Action Ireland.
“If it intervenes to drive up the cost of fuel through the imposition of carbon tax, the very minimum it should do is ensure it protects people who are already struggling to heat their homes to a safe level”.
He said that the move comes as Ireland had slashed fuel supports for older people.
The increased in carbon tax must also be viewed against Ireland’s shameful excess winter death rate of between 1,500 and 2,000 deaths. Most of these are older people, who are dying of respiratory illness, heart attack and stroke – cold-related conditions.
“Those most at risk are people on low incomes, those living alone, occupants of poorly insulated homes, and those with disabilities or health problems which restrict their mobility or leave them house-bound.”