A “whole of Government” response is needed to tackle the ongoing energy crisis, which is threatening some sectors and could lead to company closures and jobs losses, according to business group Ibec.
The group’s director of lobbying and influence, Fergal O’Brien, told RTÉ Radio’s News at One that increased energy costs will present a real challenge for some businesses, such as engineering and the manufacture of building supplies.
Some companies were looking at energy bills that had increased four or five times, he said, adding it is a significant cost which could mean increased bills of tens of thousands of euro for small companies and tens of millions of euro for large companies.
“The Government is going to need to step in to enterprises that are vulnerable to the energy crisis,” Mr O’Brien warned.
In other countries there is greater State support, he added, while Irish companies are already trying to “dial down” energy use.
Increased energy tariffs were not the answer, Mr O’Brien said, warning that they would make the situation “much worse”.
This was a supply and generating challenge, he explained, adding that there should have been earlier investment in back up plans. It had been known for some time that such measures would be needed, he said, but no action followed.
Mr O’Brien said that putting extra costs on small businesses was not a viable option and warned that higher energy costs could mean that some companies would have to reduce production.
The Government should address the problem with long and short term plans, particularly in the area of energy storage, he said, as this is something that Ireland had not yet introduced.