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Energy Crisis

Energy prices: Taoiseach says 'sanctions will have impacts... there's no getting away from it'

Taoiseach has ruled out further energy credits and a delay on the carbon tax.

THE UKRAINE CRISIS could leave Irish consumers facing further rises in energy costs, Taoiseach Micheál Martin confirmed today.

The Taoiseach has said the situation on fuel prices in Ireland “could get worse” now after Germany moved to postpone the Nordstream 2 gas pipeline.

Speaking to reporters in the Irish embassy in Berlin, he said Russia is “casting a very significant cloud” over Europe, adding that the Irish position is that dialogue is the way forward.

Earlier today, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced at a joint press conference with the Taoiseach that Germany had taken steps to halt the process of certifying the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia.

When asked what the impact the postponement of the Nordstream 2 will have on Ireland, Martin said:

“It’s a very significant decision for the German Chancellor to make. We shouldn’t understate the significance of that statement and announcement because there was a major investment involved there.

“I think more broadly the crisis will have a negative impact on oil prices. There’s a number of factors that have come into play here. Obviously the geopolitical crisis is one.

“All the economies simultaneously rebounding from Covid is another so there’s been high demand all over the world in respect of energy. So combine it all and you we’re in a very serious situation which could get worse now because of what happened yesterday.”

“Sanctions will have impacts… there is no getting away from that,” said Martin, who indicated that some countries will be impacted more than others.

“It will have impacts, sanctions will have impacts on all of us… All sanctions will have impacts, we would much prefer not to be in this situation.

“This is a situation that Europe never wanted to be in. Particularly coming out of the pandemic. This is the last thing the European continent needs or the world needs,” he said.

Martin effectively ruled out any further energy grants – such as the €200 energy credit for electricity – in response to likely further increases in gas prices, stating that further inflationary measures would be dealt with at budget time.

In light of his comments, the Taoiseach was asked if the Government would move to delay the carbon tax increase in May.

“No, they will not be paused. The carbon taxes are going back to the people in the form of retrofitting grants, farming grants and they protect people from fuel poverty. They are not the big issue and they represent only a very small amount of the huge increases that have occurred in the recent months. We are not going to rescind the legislation as it is in law,” he said.

Political Correspondent Christina Finn reporting from Berlin

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