The extent of the current crisis in relation to fuel prices cannot be underestimated, according to an independent TD.

Yesterday (Wednesday, March 9), in response to record pump prices, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe confirmed that excise duty will be cut by 20c/L for petrol, 15c/L for diesel and 2c/L for marked gas oil or ‘green’ diesel.

The reductions took effect from midnight and will remain in place until August 31, 2022.

Fuel prices

Michael Fitzmaurice said that the “belated recognition of the need to cut excise duty” by government should be recognised and welcomed.

However, the independent TD outlined that the move does not go far enough and is “another bad case of arriving to the crisis a day late and a dollar short”.

“The current crisis is so widespread it is affecting every aspect of the economy from agriculture and food security, to the building trade and the capacity of people to even afford to get to work.

“Such is the extent of the crisis, even school bus contractors find it impossible to operate. Lorry drivers are also parking lorries and walking away.

“The government’s proposals, whilst representing a start, are not radical enough. They are merely keeping the lid on the pot and will be swiftly taken over by events,” the Roscommon-Galway TD stated.

Fitzmaurice suggested that the government should look at cutting VAT, similar to what was done for the hospitality sector.

“Carbon taxes are no longer just a climate change issue. It is impacting on all sectors of society, be it farmers using green diesel or people who need home heating oil or those families who are choosing between fuel and food.

“I do not want to hear about fuel allowances and everything like that. I am talking about people who do not qualify for those schemes and who are working every day.

“We are dangerously close now to an inflationary bubble across the entire productive economy.

“A social explosion is about to happen in the next week or two if the government does not respond effectively to this crisis,” Fitzmaurice warned.