Carbon tax hike puts ‘unfair burden’ on farmers – Fitzmaurice

Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice has warned that an increase in the carbon tax would have a devastating impact on people living in rural Ireland.

Fitzmaurice, a TD for the Roscommon-Galway constituency, took aim at Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and others for supporting an increase, which would see 21.2c added to the price of a litre of diesel.

At present, the tax stands at €20 per tonne of carbon, which adds 5.3c to a litre of diesel; the Government plans to increase this to €80 per tonne of carbon.

If the carbon tax is increased from its current position in the next budget, then people in rural Ireland will be forced to carry the burden once again.

“People living in rural Ireland – and especially farmers – will have an unfair burden to carry once again, compared to those living in cities,” argued Fitzmaurice.

He added: “It is obvious that those living in cities would find it easier to lead a low-carbon lifestyle versus a person living in the countryside.”

This is because, Fitzmaurice claimed, people in urban areas have access to public transport and a range of services in close proximity, whereas people in rural areas have longer distances to travel while relying on a car.

He went on to emphasise that farmers would be particularly affected on account of low incomes and rising expenditure, saying “farmers are being squeezed at both ends”.

Fitzmaurice called on people in rural areas to make this issue a priority when they vote in the upcoming local and European elections.

“I am urging people to drive this issue home when people call to their doors in the next few weeks; the carbon tax cannot increase in the next budget if farmers and people living in rural Ireland will be forced to carry an unfair burden,” he said.