Republic of Ireland news

EU deal on gas prices good for Republic, Taoiseach says

Micheál Martin speaks with the media as he arrives for the EU summit in Brussels today (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)
Michelle Devane, PA

The EU deal on gas prices will not result in an immediate reduction in energy prices for householders, the Taoiseach has said.

But Micheál Martin said the revenue from a windfall tax on energy companies should give the government “firepower” to be able to help people further with increased costs next year.

Mr Martin made the comments as he arrived in Brussels for the second day of a summit of EU leaders.

They agreed in the early hours of this morning to place a cap on the wholesale cost of gas in a bid to reduce energy prices.

“A stable gas market is good for everybody,” Mr Martin told reporters.

“It is good for Ireland. We export into the European market quite significantly.

“We see this as progress.”

Asked whether the agreement will result in lower energy prices, Mr Martin said: “We import our gas from the UK.

“Our prices are lower than some across Europe so there may not be an immediate impact other than to say that any stabilisation of the gas market ultimately benefits us.”

Mr Martin said the aim of EU measures is to stabilise prices and “avoid spikes”.

He added that the price of gas had been on a “downward trajectory” since the high point in August, but that it is still much higher than it was before the start of the Ukraine war.

The Taoiseach said the income from the windfall taxes will be used by government to help “alleviate pressure” on households next year.

“Because of the way the economies are going across Europe, one has to ensure we’ve sufficient resources over the medium term, that’s right throughout 2023,” he said.

“So we will have reserves and that revenue will add to those reserves to give us firepower to do things if we have to do it,” he said.

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