Irish energy price cap cannot be ruled out, Varadkar says

The Tánaiste said Ireland would examine the options to deal with the energy crisis and strike a balance.
Irish energy price cap cannot be ruled out, Varadkar says

Vivienne Clarke

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said that a cap on energy prices cannot be entirely ruled out.

The Government was not ruling out any action, he told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland.

Mr Varadkar pointed out that the UK energy price cap would ultimately be paid for by the taxpayer while EU proposals would take money from the energy companies to support householders. Ireland would examine the options and strike a balance.

The Fine Gael leader was speaking from Kilkenny, where the party is holding a pre-Budget think-in. Mr Varadkar said the gathering was about setting the negotiating mandates for Fine Gael ministers prior to the Budget.

The cost of living, where things are going and how high bills will go were among the issues. He said there were three key aims: to help households and businesses pay their energy bills; tax measures to help working people keep what they earn; and targeted help for the most vulnerable.

Mr Varadkar said that while the Government was looking at a one-off Budget approach this year, which would be paid from the surplus, there would be no cliff edge and it was very clear that there would have to be action and more supports next year.

On the proposal for the reduction of energy use at peak times, Mr Varadkar said it was not a case of not doing anything, it was a case of doing things such as running washing machines and dishwashers at off-peak times.

The Tánaiste said that while he was confident of the country’s energy security, “it would be sensible” to have storage capacity as “you never know what could happen” with the supply line from Norway and the UK.

Mr Varadkar dismissed Opposition calls for more money to be spent now. He said it was important to “keep something in the tank”. Any response needed to be of adequate scale as “we don’t know how long this will go on.”

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