‘Carbon tax increase will cripple ordinary people’

Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice has said that an increase to the current carbon tax will “cripple ordinary people”.

The Roscommon-Galway TD was speaking in the aftermath of recommendations put forward by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action which suggested that carbon tax should rise to €80/t by 2030.

“The ordinary working people will be the ones left to carry the burden if an increase is implemented; they are already taxed to the limit with many struggling to make mortgage repayments and this Government seems intent on penalising them more,” added Fitzmaurice.

He went on to say that any increase on carbon tax would have a knock-on effect across the board.

Fuel prices would rise and so would the cost of food. Farmers would, for example, see the cost of making a bale of silage increase by €1.

Fitzmaurice continued: “An increase would also drive people towards cities and other urban areas – that seems to be a key goal for this Government.

“Rural Ireland will also be disproportionately affected by rising the carbon tax given that public transport is so poor in rural areas.”

The Roscommon-Galway TD pointed out that the Government needed to examine ways to combat climate change “rather than hitting ordinary people with a higher tax bill”.

He said there should be a focus on analysing other emission cutting techniques.

What are our trains running on for example?

He added: “We also have to be realistic though – it would cost between €3 billion and €4 billion to electrify trains here – some of the systems rolled out in other countries have run into significant difficulties.

“At the same time, this Government talks about the advantages of driving an electric car and the benefits it will have for the environment, but most ordinary people do not have the luxury of owning a new car and they simply cannot afford to purchase electric cars.

As well as that, electricity and gas prices in Ireland are among the highest in Europe.

Fitzmaurice concluded: “In the past couple of months we have been told that the Government will no longer purchase diesel only buses even though the Euro 6 diesel engine is almost as efficient as a gas engine.

“If this Government follows through on the proposal to increase the carbon tax to €80/t over the next few years, it will cripple ordinary people.”