Aontú Leader and Meath West TD Peadar Tóibín has urged the government to ensure that citizens are not burdened with the cost of developing the new biogas sector. He specifically called for a guarantee that there will be no direct or indirect charges imposed on consumers through fuel suppliers. Tóibín emphasized the importance of decarbonizing the energy system and highlighted the potential role of biogas and anaerobic digestion in achieving this goal. He also mentioned the potential for biogas to increase farm incomes.
However, Tóibín expressed concern about the impact of such charges on consumers who are already struggling to afford fuel for their cars and homes. He pointed out that the government is currently generating significant revenue from VAT, excise, and carbon taxes on fuel, which amounts to billions of euros. Tóibín found it astonishing that the government is profiting from fuel taxes while many citizens are facing financial difficulties and going into debt.
Tóibín further outlined the rising energy costs and other financial burdens that citizens are currently facing. He highlighted that excise duty rates increased in June 2023 and are set to increase again on September 1. Additionally, Carbon Tax is due to rise in October, and road tolls, which were recently increased in July, will go up again in January. Tóibín criticized the lack of awareness among wealthy ministers regarding the financial struggles of ordinary families. He also noted that Ireland has significantly higher electricity prices compared to the European average, suggesting that the government intentionally raises energy costs to reduce fuel demand.
Tóibín emphasized the limited alternatives available to families in terms of reducing dependence on fossil fuels. He pointed out the insufficient public transport options and the lack of capacity for deep retrofitting at present. Electric cars and solar arrays are also too expensive for many individuals to afford. Given the significant tax revenue already generated from fuel, Tóibín argued that it would be wrong for the government to pass on the cost of developing the biogas sector to consumers, especially with estimated increases as high as 10%. Instead, he called for reductions in energy costs to alleviate the financial burden on citizens.
In conclusion, Peadar Tóibín of Aontú has called on the government to ensure that citizens are not financially burdened by the development of the biogas sector. He highlighted the government’s significant revenue from fuel taxes and criticized the rising energy costs and other financial pressures faced by ordinary families. Tóibín emphasized the need for energy cost reductions and the limited alternatives currently available to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.