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Environment Minister Eamon Ryan defends fuel cuts saying prices would be ‘much higher’

Eamon Ryan

Paul Hyland

Environment Minister Eamon Ryan has defended the much-criticised excise cuts for fuel which were introduced today, saying without them prices would be “much higher”.

Despite the 15 cent reduction in the price of diesel and the 20 cent reduction for petrol, many have complained that fuel prices are still more expensive than they were at the start of the week.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Primetime, Minister Ryan said coupled with the measures introduced earlier this year to ease the burden on home heating costs and transport, progress has been made.

“They are saving people money. Without the bills would be higher,” he said.

“We made a number of other measures… we increased the fuel allowance and increased a whole load of payments to protect those most at risk.

“Three weeks ago, we introduced a €500 million package, including a €200 credit to every household, a 20pc cuts in public transport fares, a further increase to the fuel allowance and then again yesterday, over €300 million to help cushion the blow.”

Minister Ryan argued that the government never said it would “cover the full cost” but it went to the maximum of what was possible under European law and it “was the right thing to do”.

Despite rising energy prices Mr Ryan said the Government will proceed with the introduction of the Carbon Tax from May.

He said that tax will “help people” because the revenue gained from it will be pumped back into social welfare.

“Also, funding the other measures we took. The 80pc grant to put in attic and wall insulation which is the best way of cutting bills. You can cut a bill by about 25pc that way.

“The best way of putting it up to Mr Putin is to stop buying the oil, gas and coal that they’re exporting and that’s what government is focused on.”

Mr Ryan added that there will be a further investment in “efficiency” to reduce the reliance on foreign fossil fuels and to stop “money going to Russia”.

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