By Cate McCurry, PA
Taoiseach Micheál Martin has pledged to provide “substantial” supports as the public faces soaring energy prices.
Mr Martin said Government leaders will meet to discuss Budget Day measures to help alleviate the pressure on households.
The Fianna Fáil leader said that energy prices have risen to levels that were not expected, blaming Putin’s war in Ukraine for creating the energy and food crisis.
The cost-of-living package will be announced alongside the Budget at the end of the month.
Mr Martin said the country has to work together to reduce energy demand.
He would not be drawn on whether the Government will consider capping energy prices.
“The Government will be assisting people and will be helping people in terms of alleviating cost pressures on people, and we will do that through supports like we did last year,” he added.
“This year we will have a cost-of-living package parallel with the Budget, which will be once-off in terms of its application for this year which will help people, households, particularly families.
“Then the Budget itself will also to deal with, as best it can, issues like childcare and education and so on.
“Schools will need supports to deal with the cost of energy in schools. Clearly, government will help in all of that.
“We will go as far as we possibly can, in terms of resources we have and ensure we don’t make the inflation situation worse.”
He said the cost-of-living budget package will contain “substantial supports”.
“It will be a substantial package as it has to be because the price levels are at a level that no-one has experienced before, not even in the 1970s,” he added.
“It’s principally because of the decision by (Vladimir) Putin to weaponise energy and the war in Ukraine is having an impact. This is the first time since World War Two that we have had a major war of this kind on the continent of Europe.
“It has created the worst humanitarian crisis since World War Two, it’s created an energy crisis and a food crisis and that is the reality of a horrible and brutal war, that’s why Europe has united against that war.”
Speaking in Offaly on Tuesday, Mr Martin said the government is doing all it can within its resources to incentivise the retrofitting of homes.
He claimed there has been a 300 per cent increase in applications for retrofit grants.
“Many companies involved in retrofitting have witnessed a very strong demand in growth,” he added.