New era of high energy prices labelled 'frightening' by Cork activist 

The Taoiseach said there will be no further measures announced by the Government before October’s budget to help ease the pressure on householders.
New era of high energy prices labelled 'frightening' by Cork activist 

Don Murray, the president of Cork City’s oldest charity, the Sick Poor Society, is encouraging people to get in touch with the organisation if they are experiencing hardship.

TAOISEACH Micheál Martin’s warning that consumers face a “new era” of high energy prices because of Russia’s war on Ukraine has been described as “absolutely frightening” by a Cork activist for the elderly.

EU leaders agreed on Monday to embargo most Russian oil imports into the bloc by the end of the year as part of new sanctions on Moscow.

The compromise was made at a two-day summit focused on helping Ukraine with a long-delayed package of new financial support.

The embargo covers Russian oil brought in by sea, allowing a temporary exemption for imports delivered by pipeline.

Elderly rights activist Paddy O’Brien has called for the fuel allowance season to be extended as he said many elderly people are “living in damp, cold houses so they’re using a lot of fuel”.

Don Murray, the president of Cork City’s oldest charity, the Sick Poor Society, is encouraging people to get in touch with the organisation if they are experiencing hardship.

Mr Martin said he was “very pleased” at the decision taken late on Monday, describing it as a “watershed moment”.

“It’s a significant decision in terms of the banning of the importation of Russian oil into the European Union and really accounting for a very significant volume of Russian oil and that will hit Russia,” the Taoiseach said yesterday.

He said the war in Ukraine, climate change, and EU policy moves will make for “fairly rocky territory” over the next number of years in terms of high energy prices. “One is looking at a different era now in terms of pricing around fossil fuels,” said Mr Martin.

Despite this, Mr Martin said there will be no further measures announced by the Government before October’s budget to help ease the pressure on householders.

TAOISEACH Micheál Martin’s warning that consumers face a “new era” of high energy prices because of Russia’s war on Ukraine has been described as “absolutely frightening” by a Cork activist for the elderly. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
TAOISEACH Micheál Martin’s warning that consumers face a “new era” of high energy prices because of Russia’s war on Ukraine has been described as “absolutely frightening” by a Cork activist for the elderly. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Speaking to The Echo following the comments, elderly rights activist Paddy O’Brien said: “I was driving and I heard what Micheál Martin was saying and the first people I thought of was the elderly. The elderly are finding it difficult enough now. They’re going through desperate times now at the moment.

“I was thinking what have they to look forward to? They have misery and hardship, struggling and skimping — that’s it. It’s just deplorable.

“I’m not blaming the Government, but the Government must do something.

“As we know, this is on account of the war but it’s up to the Government to do something,” said Mr O’Brien.

The decision to ban most Russian oil imports will necessitate an acceleration of renewable energy projects, said Mr Martin. “We’ve done well in Ireland in terms of electricity on renewables. We’ve got to move much faster now to the end of this decade,” he said.

“We are at a watershed moment in terms of the European Union’s dependency on Russian oil and gas, because side by side with the sanctions package last evening, we began discussions on the energy package, which is looking really to a more sustained and fundamental break in that dependency on Russian gas and oil.

“If you dovetail that with our climate change agenda, it is a watershed moment in terms of fossil fuels in general, which will make for fairly rocky territory over the next number of years in terms of pricing around fossil fuels, we cannot get away from that,” said Mr Martin.

Michelle Murphy, research and policy analyst at Social Justice Ireland, said a ramping up of renewable energy projects will take “significant investment” and “a lot of political ambition”.

Meanwhile, Don Murray, the president of Cork City’s oldest charity, the Sick Poor Society, is encouraging people to get in touch with the organisation if they are experiencing hardship.

The charity provides everything from food vouchers to coal and assistance to families with children going back to school.

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