An increase to the current carbon tax will cripple ordinary people, according to Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice.
The Roscommon-Galway representative was commenting on the recommendations put forward by the Joint Committee on Climate Action, which outlined that the carbon tax should rise to €80 per tonne by 2030.
Speaking on the matter, he said, “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".
"This Government seems intent on penalising them more," he said, "Those in Government may say that supports will be there and that people will receive rebates, but the people of Ireland will be left to carry the can once again".
Rise in prices
“An increase to the 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" asserted Fitzmaurice.
“An increase would also drive people towards cities and other urban areas, which seems to be a key goal for this Government," he said.
"Rural Ireland will also be disproportionately affected by rising the carbon tax, given that the likes of public transport is so poor in rural areas,” he added.
Fitzmaurice stated that this Government needs to examine other ways to combat climate change, rather than hitting ordinary people with a higher tax bill.
“This Government needs to carry out some analysis on other emission-cutting techniques. What are our trains running on for example?".
“We also have to be realistic though. It would cost between €3 and €4 billion to electrify trains here – and some of the systems rolled out in other countries have run into significant difficulties" he added.
“At the same time, this Government talks about the advantages of driving an electric car and the benefits it will have for the environment," said Fitzmaurice.
"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".
“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 per tonne over the next few years it will cripple ordinary people,” Fitzmaurice concluded.