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Russia

Varadkar says Ireland has contingency plans if fuel rationing comes into effect

However, the Tánaiste said he doesn’t think the plans will need to be implemented.

TÁNAISTE LEO VARADKAR has said Ireland has contingency plans ready to implement if there are issues with supply of fuel in the coming months.

However, Varadkar said he doesn’t think the plans will need to be implemented.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, the Tánaiste said: “We have contingency plans if it turns out that we end up with restrictions on supply of gas and petrol and diesel in the country. I don’t think that’s going to happen.”

Varadkar said the main issue to date has been the price of fuel, not supply.

“In the last year or so we’ve been through a pandemic, we’ve been through Brexit, and we’ve been through a war on Ukraine by Russia. We actually have real problems with price stability. We haven’t had problems so much with supply, and we do have 90 days’ reserves.

“I don’t envision supply being a problem, but we do have contingency plans if that were to arise. And we have reserves and if the reserves run out, we have contingency plans as to who gets prioritised – and they do not have to be implemented but they’re ready if they have to be.”

Concerns have been raised over potential energy rationing being required in EU countries as some member states look to coal for additional power generation.

It comes as Russia has begun reducing supplies to both Germany and Italy as a response to sanctions issued by the EU following the invasion of Ukraine in February.

Energy rationing

EU Commissioner Mairead McGuinness said the idea of energy rationing may “be a reality” due to the reduced supplies of gas entering both Germany and Italy, alongside Poland and Bulgaria who have had their gas completely cut off by Russia.

Speaking in Brussels yesterday, McGuinness, the Commissioner for financial services, warned that while the European Commission will try to avoid any kind of fuel and energy rationing, such measures may be necessary.

“The German Minister said we may need to look at energy rationing,” she said. “That could be a reality. It’s something we’ll try to avoid.”

McGuinness also said that the Commission is already taking measures to address energy insecurity within the EU, with measures like joint-purchasing of gas and securing sources of gas from other countries.

“We’re trying to tackle our energy insecurity by storage, by joint purchase, by making sure that we have connections elsewhere,” she said.

“The US are going to send more gas as we try to wean away [from Russian gas].”

Due to the reduced supply of Russian gas, countries like Germany, Austria and the Netherlands have opted to reduce restrictions on power plants that use coal.

With reporting by Tadgh McNally 

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