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EU agrees to windfall levy on energy companies which could generate €2 billion for Ireland

Speaking prior to the agreement, Enegery Minister Eamon RyanIreland can expect up to €2 billion from the deal.

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan speaking before this morning's meeting of EU energy ministers.
Green Party leader Eamon Ryan speaking before this morning's meeting of EU energy ministers.

ENERGY MINISTER EAMON Ryan says a windfall levy on energy companies is one of “several pieces in the jigsaw” that is required for this “incredibly difficult time”.

It comes as European Union energy ministers signed off on a package of measures, including a windfall levy on profits by fossil fuel companies.

Speaking ahead of the EU meeting, Minister Ryan said the measures “allow us to address some of the excess profits going to the energy industries and bring it back to help our people”.

He added: “The unfair profits, caused by a war and not by any action of any companies, do need to be brought back.”

Under the deal, these companies will be asked to give back a share of their profits above the average of the past four years, according to officials at France’s energy ministry.

Prior the this morning’s meeting, Minister Ryan told RTE’s ‘Morning Ireland’ that Ireland can expect “one to two billion (euro)” from the deal that was agreed to.

“But that depends on so many different factors – you can’t exactly be clear, but it’s that sort of amount of money,” he added.

EU ministers also agreed on cuts to peak-hour power consumption.

The measures, however, will not have an immediate effect on the gas prices that have been running wild as Russia reduced its supplies, with Minister Ryan saying “it will take some time”.

In the meantime, the Green Party leader says there will be “additional measures” for Pay As You Go customers.

He told RTE that there are “mechanisms” wherein people can “go to the Social Welfare Services for additional supports”.

Minister Ryan added: “We don’t want anyone going cold or through real acute fuel poverty through this winter. So there is flexibility in the system.

“It there are very specific hard cases, our social welfare offices are equipped and funded to help particular individual households through those very difficult periods.”

Speaking to reporters at the opening of the Fianna Fáil ard Fheis in Dublin this evening, the Taoiseach said he didn’t want to speculate on the amount that Ireland might get, but said the Irish Government would be seeking the “optimal”.

Chri he added. 

“A lot depends on the mechanisms and not every country, or every member state is in the same situation. Different blocks are in different positions as well. So it’s complex. That’s why one has to proceed cautiously in relation to the energy market.

“That’s why the European Union is taking a bit more time to look at the fundamentals of the market, in terms of the relationship, for example of gas with renewables, in terms of the pricing issue, but in the short term, making sure that we can take measures that would ensure that we would get some of that revenue, that extraordinary revenue,” he added.

Energy cap

Sinn Féin recently pointed out that several other European countries have introduced energy price caps.

When asked if Ireland would do similar, Minister Ryan pointed to the “significant interventions” in the budget and added that “each country is different in its different circumstances”.

Minister Ryan pointed towards the “direct payments of social welfare, the supports to business, and the direct credit payments”.

On Tuesday. the Government announced €600 worth of energy credits for households as part of its €11 billion Budget measures.

The €200 credits will be paid in three instalments over the coming months.

Meanwhile, Minister Ryan told Morning Ireland that “you can used the word cap in a different way”, adding: “The windfall profits (of energy companies), that’s what we need to cap.

“We will be introducing a cap on the electricity and the gas markets in terms of capping the profits that accrue out to the to the energy companies and start to bring that back to the people.”

Concrete block levy

Also introduced in the budget was a 10% levy on concrete blocks, pouring concrete and other concrete products to offset the cost of the Mica redress scheme.

That scheme was agreed earlier this year for homeowners who have been affected by the issue of defective products used in the building of their homes.

Minister Ryan told RTE: “The payment is going to be made by the Irish people one way or the other unfortunately.

He added: “I do believe it’s appropriate that it’s not just all the households around the country which is going to contribute to this.

“I believe that is appropriate that the industry do,” said Minister Ryan.

“And one of the reasons is that gives us better control to regulate to an industry that hasn’t been properly regulated and hasn’t been operational within the right standards.

“It also allows the industry to pivot to where we need to stop the introduction of flawed raw materials into people’s houses, so that then they end up crumbling and we all end up having to pay.

“It’s fair that they pay a certain percentage, not a large one, but some percentage of the huge cost that has been put on the Irish public.”

With additional reporting from Christina Finn and Press Association

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