Republic of Ireland news

Dublin government urged to get ‘money into people's hands now' as cost of living rises

Tanaiste Leo Varadkar said the package to be unveiled later today will add to the cost of living measures announced as part of last year’s budget
Cate McCurry, PA

The Dublin government has been urged to “get money into people’s hands now”, as the rising cost of living hits lower and middle income families.

Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty called on the government to give direct payments of €200 to individuals on incomes of €30,000 or less, and €100 for individuals on incomes between €30,000 and €60,000.

It comes as the government is expected to announce a range of measures in a support package worth around €400 million, to tackle the spiralling cost of living.

Mr Doherty told the Dáil that while rising prices affect everybody, they do not impact on everybody equally.

“Low and middle income households spend more on heating our homes, on feeding their families or on rent than those in the top and they do so with less money,” Mr Doherty said.

“This morning St Vincent de Paul found that two in five people have cut back on essential heating and electricity.

“Workers and families need targeted support and they need that support now.

“They need a government that is willing to act, willing to listen and willing to act now.

“What we need is a direct cost of living cash payment, as Sinn Féin has proposed, of €200 for individuals on incomes of €30,000 or less and €100 for individuals on incomes between 30,000 and 60,000.

“This would provide households with direct support of over €500 in response to the cost of living crisis.

“We need to get money into people’s hands now.”

He also accused Tánaiste Leo Varadkar of being “tone deaf” to people’s needs.

Mr Varadkar said the government acknowledged the cost of living is rising and “biting people”.

“It’s hurting people in the pocket. It’s hurting family budgets, and a lot of people are really squeezed and some people are having to make very hard decisions about what they spend their money on,” Mr Varadkar added.

Mr Varadkar said the package to be unveiled later today will add to the cost of living measures announced as part of last year’s budget.

He claimed it will help every household.

“Even households on middle incomes are suffering from the the rising costs, particularly of energy bills,” he added.

He said the measures will help those who are suffering the most, particularly older people and people on very low incomes and on welfare.

“The budget package and the package that we’re going to announce today will be worth somewhere in the region of 1.4 to 1.5 billion and that is considerable,” Mr Varadkar said.

“That is a lot of money that the government is saying we need to get back to people to help them with the rising cost of living.”

He added: “But I know as well as you do that no matter what we announce today, it’s not going to be enough. Your press releases are all already written, inadequate. Not enough. I could write it for you.”

Labour’s Aodhán Ó Ríordáin said: “The official government advice for ministers is to shop around for better value.

“For those suffering on record rent prices, they can’t shop around. They need a rent freeze.

“For those looking at soaring energy bills up by 30%, they can’t shop around for better deals, they need real intervention.

“For those in low paid work, they can’t shop around. They need a pay rise.”

People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett said: “Inflation should actually be renamed price gouging and profiteering because the reason rents go up is because landlords increase rents to unaffordable levels.

“The reason energy prices go up is because energy supply companies increase the cost of those energies, and they are making a lot of money out of it.

“So the heating misery, the housing misery that ordinary people are suffering is actually benefiting certain groups of people, particularly corporate interests.”

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access

Republic of Ireland news