We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

Minister for Transport and Green Party leader Eamon Ryan. Sam Boal
Cost of Living

Eamon Ryan 'wouldn't object' to bringing Budget forward to September

The Minister for Transport said the matter will be discussed at Cabinet next week.

TRANSPORT MINISTER EAMON Ryan has said that he would not object to bringing the Budget forward by a month to September.

The idea is understood to be being considered by Government as a way to respond to the ongoing cost of living crisis without introducing a mini budget, something opposition leaders have been calling for.

The Government has already indicated that no additional measures will be introduced before Budget 2023 to help tackle the rising cost of living.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland programme, Ryan said the matter will be discussed at Cabinet early next week when Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe and Expenditure Minister Michael McGrath set out the Summer Economic Statement.

“I wouldn’t object if we had to move into the September period rather than October and I think that’s a matter for Cabinet to decide early next week. I don’t believe we should go for what the opposition are calling for which is doing it today,” he said.

“I think the critical thing in the Budget is that it is going to be a difficult winter and autumn because there is a strong possibility that Russia will use the flow of gas and turn it off in a deliberate way to try and further put pressure on the European Union.

“In those circumstances, I think our measures in the Budget do have to be targeted as much as possible to protect those at risk of fuel poverty, and I think that’s that’s one of the key things we need to get right.”

Asked about Minister of State Joe O’Brien calling for increases in pension and social welfare payments in the autumn, Ryan said that there is also a category of people who are working who also need support and “it’s that sort of sophisticated targeting is, I think, where we need to go”.

He said that both he and the Government believe that those at risk of fuel poverty need to be protected most in the upcoming Budget.

“That isn’t just about one number and one category in social welfare. It is about looking at a variety of different families who could well be working who might not be fully reliant on social welfare, but who will be in similar difficulties,” he said.

“I think it’s using the time over these coming weeks with social partners to try and hear their views and with trade unions and the business community to do what we do well in this country, we work in partnership, and you don’t do the Budget three months in advance.”

Fuel rationing ‘unlikely’

Ryan said that he does not expect fuel rationing or power outages to be a feature of the Irish winter as we only receive 2-3% of gas from Russia.

However, he said that Ireland will continue to be affected by the higher energy costs “which have been driven up by Russia using oil and gas as a political tool in this war”.

“There is risk around future oil supplies because Russian exports count for about three million barrels on international markets, but we’ve taken a lot of steps with international energy to prepare for that. So it’s unlikely, but the signal is clear. We have to stop our use of those fuels,” he said.

Yesterday, EU leaders agreed on draft legislation aimed at slashing EU greenhouse gases by at least 55% in 2030. 

The legislation will also include a mandatory carbon tax, which Ireland will be exempt from as it has already been introduced here. Ryan said future scrapping of Ireland’s carbon tax would mean having to pay the European tax.

He said that the European legislation is the “basic underpinning” of a new economy in Europe and that there is a “greater acceleration” on cutting down on fossil fuels following the invasion in Ukraine.

“There’s real solidarity and commitment and purpose to stop our reliance on imported fossil fuels to switch to using our own power to be really efficient in everything we do, because I think the European governments and countries and people can see that we’re exposed, we’re at risk, that reliance on other people’s energy supply to provide for our economy is something we have to stop. So it is very significant,” he said.

Leaders’ Questions

Tanaiste Leo Varadkar today defended the Government’s response to the cost-of-living crisis, saying it has done more than other similar countries.

Following Ryan’s comments, Varadkar hinted that this year’s Budget could be brought forward, after he referred to it taking place in the autumn several times.

He told the Dail that the Government will bring in measures which will take effect “almost immediately” in the days after the Budget.

However, he was criticised by Sinn Fein’s finance spokesman, Pearse Doherty, who said families are struggling now and will face further pressure due to back-to-school costs.

“Families are in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis and many parents find themselves under serious financial pressure,” Mr Doherty said.

“For parents whose number one priority is their children, times are very tough.

“I’ve said it before, that the cost-of-living crisis is happening right here, right now.

Varadkar said the global inflation crisis will not end following the Budget, and warned that Ireland will be “grappling” with the crisis for “months, if not years ahead”.

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel