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Doherty says people have been struggling for the better part of the year dealing with rising costs. Oireachtas.ie
energy costs

Telling people to tighten their belts shows Govt is 'out of touch' on cost of living, says SF

The Taoiseach told the Dáil that Putin wants western governments to get the blame for rising energy costs.

THE GOVERNMENT IS  “painfully out of touch” on the mounting cost-of-living pressures facing families across Ireland, Sinn Fein’s Pearse Doherty told the Dáil today. 

During Leaders’ Questions, Doherty called on the Government to bring forward a mini Budget ahead of October to deal with the rising cost of living.

In tetchy exchanges in the Dáil, Doherty hit out against Martin for comments he made in Brussels this week where he said Ireland was facing a “new era” of higher energy prices after EU leaders agreed to ban most Russian oil imports.

Doherty said the comments, and they way they were communicated to people, showed that the Government are out of touch, he said, stating that people have been struggling for the better part of the year dealing with rising costs.

Doherty said families were facing “soul destroying” choices as they struggled to feed their children.

“As families keep an eye to every euro they spend, yesterday you told them to prepare for a rocky road ahead, to be ready for a new era of high fuel and energy costs,” he said.

“This is astonishing because workers and families have been walking the rocky road of extortionate fuel and energy costs for the best part of a year now.

“To tell people, as you did, who are already struggling to pay their bills, that they will have to tighten their belts even further, is painfully out of touch, while at the same time ruling out from you, Taoiseach, further government action until October at the very earliest.

“Taoiseach, does this government understand the pressure that real families and workers are under right across the state?”

The Taoiseach said it “shouldn’t be astonishing to tell the truth”, stating that higher prices are the direct consequence of the war in Ukraine.

“You’re not a commentator, we all know the external factors that are pushing up prices,” said Doherty, who added that the external factors doesn’t absolve the Taoiseach from doing “everything in his power to protect consumers and families”.

Families can’t “hang on for another five months” for further support measures, said Doherty. 

Martin said he was telling the truth yesterday about a new era of an increase in pricing around fossil fuels.

“And the reason for that is that this week we will mark the grim milestone of 100 days since Russia’s unjustified illegal and immoral invasion of Ukraine.”

He added: “This war is having a very terrible impact on the world, primarily in terms of the deaths of so many Ukrainians and the terrible trauma that they’re experiencing, but also a huge economic cost and disruption, triggering a massive spike in the cost of energy and with a huge increase in the cost of a vast range of other materials affecting food, agriculture, in terms of fertiliser and so on, which all input into our society and economic system and also, most devastating of all, it is causing and will cause a major food security crisis.”

Blaming western governments

He said Russia’s ambassador to Ireland, Yuri Filatov, has said that western governments were to blame for soaring prices, something he said Putin wants people to think. 

Martin told Doherty not to repeat such utterances, which resulted in loud sighs from the opposition benches. 

“We need to be careful that we don’t fall into the Putin trap of laying all the blame domestically, because he wants western states to buckle, to buckle under the pressure that he deliberately and premeditatedly created,” he said.

“Putin wanted to create an energy crisis. He wants to create a food crisis and he wants to create a migration crisis, all part of the one immoral and unjustifiable war.”

The Taoiseach said Sinn Féin’s objective is to lay all of the blame of rising costs on the Government, “just like the Russian ambassador did yesterday, exactly just like the Russian ambassador did yesterday – blame the Government or blame the governments of the day”.

“But the key point is this – we have taken a lot of measures which you ignore and decide not to acknowledge.”

Doherty said that telling people to tighten their belts without bringing in new measures to help shows that this “Government is so far out of touch, you couldn’t make it up. Listen to what our people are saying”.

With reporting by Press Association 

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