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Soaring costs Government agrees 20pc reduction in public transport fares to tackle rising cost of living

Additional payment of €125 for 390,000 families in receipt of fuel allowance also confirmed

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Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Michael McGrath and Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe. Photo: Julien Behal

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Michael McGrath and Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe. Photo: Julien Behal

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Michael McGrath and Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe. Photo: Julien Behal

Senior Government ministers have agreed a 20pc reduction in public transport fares for the rest of the year under a package to tackle the soaring cost of living.

The fare reduction will apply to Bus Éireann, Irish Rail, Dublin Bus, Go Ahead, Luas, DART and Local Link.

The package to help ease the burden of spiralling costs also includes an additional payment of €125 for 390,000 families who are in receipt of the fuel allowance has also been agreed.

It is believed that the payment could be made before St Patrick’s Day as part of the Government’s efforts to put in place targeted measures for people who are hit the hardest with inflation.

Ministers have also agreed to increase the planned €100 electricity rebate to €200 as part of the package of measures.

It was also decided to lower the threshold for the Drug Payment Scheme which is €100 per month to €80 per month.

There will also be reduced caps for fees for multiple children on school transport to €500 per family post primary and €150 for primary school children.

Sunday World understands that the Working Family Payment will be brought forward from June 1 to April 1 and include a €10 weekly increase which was announced in the Budget.

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe and Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath announced the package this evening.

The two ministers, as well as the Taoiseach and Tánaiste, met to agree on the different supports which can be put in place to help with the rising cost of living.

Opposition parties have called for the Government to spend over €1bn in supports.

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Speaking ahead of the Government announcement, Sinn Féin Finance spokesman said the cost of living was "clearly a crisis for so many".

"Instead of taking decisive action, what the Government has done in our view is put their heads in the sand and has allowed those issues, those costs, like rent, like childcare, adding to the costs of energy, many of these spiralling out of control," he said.

"They simply don't get it. They don't understand the pressure that workers and families are under, who need action now."

He said that Sinn Fein would introduce a "cost-of-living cash payment" to support workers and families.

Mr Doherty said that an individual on an income of up to 30,000 euros would receive a payment of 200 euros, while someone earning between 30,000 euros to 60,000 euros would receive 100 euros.

He said that the debate was still out about whether inflation was temporary or would last longer into the future.

But he said: "What I do know is that families and workers are really suffering now. They're to the pin of their collar. These increases are very sudden and very severe."

He said that the Government needed to act "with scale and with speed".

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