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Ireland will be exempt from EU's 15% reduction in gas

The measure will aim to decrease European reliance on Russian gas.

Yesterday Russia announced it would limit capacity in a pipeline to Germany.
Yesterday Russia announced it would limit capacity in a pipeline to Germany.
Image: Shutterstock/ANTON ZUBCHEVSKYI

THE DEPARTMENT OF the Environment has said that Ireland will not be affected by a European Commission measure to reduce gas use because our gas grid is not connected to any other Member State.

Last week, the Commission urged EU countries to reduce demand for natural gas by 15% over the coming months to secure winter stocks and defeat Russian energy “blackmail”.

Announcing an emergency plan, EU commissioners also asked member states to give Brussels special powers to impose compulsory energy rationing if Russia cuts off Europe’s gas lifeline.

Both measures were approved today, with the Department of the Environment stating that it “welcomes that Member States across the EU have shown solidarity against the weaponization of gas supplies by Russia.”

This agreement includes a range of flexibilities that reflect different Member State circumstances with regard to gas supplies.

“In Ireland’s case it has been recognised that our gas grid is not interconnected to any other Member State and Ireland, therefore, has the possibility of an exemption from the mandatory reduction requirement,” the statement continued.

The Department noted that “while Ireland is not connected to the EU gas system, the increasing cost of gas will impact on Irish users.

It will now review and consider the implications of this regulation, in conjunction with the Energy Security Emergency Group, to examine options to reduce gas demand in solidarity with other EU Member States.

The need is high, EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said last week when the proposals were first discussed.

“Russia is blackmailing us. Russia is using energy as a weapon. And therefore, in any event, whether it’s a partial major cut-off of Russian gas or total cut-off of Russian gas, Europe needs to be ready,” Ms von der Leyen said.

Hungary was the only country to oppose the EU’s plan, which passed on a majority vote, further isolating Budapest as the only member state reluctant to go further against Russia.

“This is an unjustifiable, useless, unenforceable and harmful proposal that completely ignores national interests,” said Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto.

The deal “serves purely communication purposes, and aims to save the credibility of some Western European politicians”, he added.

Yesterday Russian energy giant Gazprom said it was cutting daily deliveries via the Nord Stream pipeline to 33 million cubic metres a day – about 20% of the pipeline’s capacity – from Wednesday.

The company said in a statement that it was halting the operation of one of the last two operating turbines due to the “technical condition of the engine”.

40% of gas used in the EU last year was imported from Russia, with Germany making up a large share of this consumption.

German Economy Minister Robert Habeck said today that his country’s reliance on Russian gas was “a strategic mistake” but the government was working to correct it.

 Like Ireland, other countries with limited interaction to the gas grid have also beem given exemptions, such as Cyprus, Malta, Spain and Portugal. 

With additional reporting from AFP

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