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The rise in the cost of living was raised with the Taoiseach during Leaders' Questions today. Alamy Stock Photo
Cost of Living

Tanaiste urges employers to give staff a pay hike to help with rise in the cost of living

‘I honestly don’t think you’re living in the real world,’ Labour leader Alan Kelly told the Taoiseach today.

TÁNAISTE LEO VARADKAR has urged employers to give staff a pay hike this year if they can afford it, as the cost of living soars.

Varadkar said he acknowledged that a lot of people are struggling with rising bills, including energy and fuel costs.

He said that while many people are in line to get a pay increase this year, employers should look at increasing the wages of their workers.

“First of all, I want to acknowledge the fact that the cost of living is rising, that we’re seeing inflation at a level that we haven’t seen in a very long time.

“That is impacting on people’s household incomes.

“A lot of people are struggling with those rising bills, particularly energy bills, petrol, diesel electricity. So what we’re doing in a number of areas is there are increases in pay, minimum wage just went up by 3%.

Employers should give a pay rise

“Most people in most workplaces, not all, but most in most workplaces will get a pay increase this year. That will help,” he said. 

“Where employers can afford pay increases they should do and the government certainly is in relation to public sector pay,” added  Varadkar. 

“We do have the welfare pension and tax package kicking in this month – deductions and income tax increases, and on top of a fuel allowance increase. There’s also measures to cap increases in rents at 2%, to freeze childcare, and to introduce this 100 euro discount to electricity bills,” he said. 

The staggering rise in inflation and the cost of living was the main issue raised with the Taoiseach during Leaders’ Questions today. 

Taoiseach Micheál Martin told the Dáil that the legislation that will allow for a €100  credit be issued to all households to help with electricity costs was approved by Cabinet today. The credit is due to kick in the next two months. 

However, Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald said the credit is not enough. 

The yearly cost of putting food on the table is to go up by nearly €800, the cost of running a car by an average of €500, she told Martin, stating that there are now record rents, which are up by 8.1%.

“Families are paying the equivalent of the second mortgage in childcare costs, she said, adding that the costs of lighting and heating your home has gone up by a massive 53%.

“It’s never ending. All of this adds up to a cost of living that is unbearable, and the government has to urgently deliver a plan that gets these costs down. But this urgency is sorely absent. People have been hit with 35 energy price hikes in the last year. And the government has been far too slow to react,” said McDonald.


The Taoiseach said the government had thought that the rise in inflation may be temporary but he said it “could be a bit longer than we might have anticipated”.

Inflation has picked up across the world, he told the Sinn Fein leader, adding that Ireland gets a large supply of gas from Russia, and the geopolitical tensions between the Ukraine and Russia, could “exasperate that”. 

Martin said the government is open at looking at budgetary measures, but said “we have think our way through this in an intelligent way”. 

“We will do more as well,” he said.

Government will work out ways to protect people and cushion people over the next 12 months from the very significant increase in prices, said Martin.

“I honestly don’t think you’re living in the real world,” Labour’s Alan Kelly told the Taoiseach, saying that families cannot absorb the price increases.

Reiterating what Varadkar said today, Kelly said: “Workers have every right to look for pay increases to deal with inflation because your government will not.”

Kelly also said there needs to be a rent freeze and a derogation of VAT on energy costs.

With reporting by Press Association

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