Socialist Party TD Mick Barry has raised concerns about a rise in the cost of living brought on by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and called for the Government to do more to tackle costs.
Speaking in the Dáil in recent days, Deputy Barry brought attention to the record-breaking inflation of 5.8% across the eurozone for the month of February and warned that there are “big cost of living increases on the way that aren’t included in those figures”.
“The Russian invasion of Ukraine moves the cost of living crisis to another level now. The price of bread will rise, the price of groceries will rise, the cost of heating and fuel will rise,” he said.
His comments come following Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney's warning to expect a "massive spike" in the cost of heating.
Addressing Taoiseach Micheál Martin in the Dáil, Deputy Barry said: “Your own Minister for Foreign Affairs has already warned of a massive spike in heating costs.
Deputy Barry called for a €200 rebate on gas bills but also for the abolition of the USC, legislation to cut rents, a €15 national minimum wage and inflation-busting pay increases for workers across the board.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin acknowledged that there is “a very significant issue facing the country” in terms of inflation.
“It’s a global phenomenon. There are no easy answers to it and the Ukraine-Russian war, the invasion by Russia of Ukraine and illegal war, is going to add to inflation and particularly energy prices. Oil prices have risen $14 over the past week.
“Natural gas costs four hundred pence per therm today on international markets compared with 40 pence a therm last March and gas prices have soared 220 pence a therm over the past week.
“So we’re going to face a very difficult situation,” he said.
He said that the Government is working with the European Commission in respect of the energy prices and that the European Commission will be coming forward with a further publication in relation to the situation in the next 10 days following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“We are facing a very difficult situation because of the war and because of President Putin’s behaviour and activity, no question about that and there are no easy answers to it,” he said.