Irish government considers measures to offset war-fuelled rise in energy costs

Speaking in the Dáil on Thursday, Varadkar warned that prices could continue to rise over the coming weeks as the conflict continues and that its impacts would likely be felt for a long period.  [MikeDotta / Shutterstock.com]

Ireland’s government met on Thursday to consider potential measures to offset increases in the cost of fuel and energy caused by the war in Ukraine.

Ahead of the meeting, Deputy Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said that ministers would look at introducing excise duties to help citizens with the rising costs.

Speaking in the Dáil on Thursday, Varadkar warned that prices could continue to rise over the coming weeks as the conflict continues and that its impacts would likely be felt for a long period.

While Ireland does not have a substantial amount of direct trade with or an energy dependency on either Russia or Ukraine, the indirect effects of the crisis would likely prompt an increase in prices, he added.

“We’re looking at other ways that we can respond,” he said. “But we could be dishonest if we didn’t say to people and to businesses that the reasons for the increase in price are largely outside of our control,” he added.

Describing the situation in Ukraine as “unprecedented”, Varadkar added that although Ireland had hoped for a period of stability and normality after the upheaval of the COVID-19 pandemic, the country was now facing “another shock” in terms of prices.

At Thursday’s cabinet meeting, ministers would also discuss what political and humanitarian aid could be offered to Ukraine, he added. They will also discuss “what else we may need to do or be able to do to help households and help businesses and farmers who are going to be affected by the sanctions and the economic disruption caused by the crisis in Ukraine,” he said.

This would require a degree of coordination at the EU level, he added.

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