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TD Paul Murphy threatens to mount campaign urging people to boycott massive energy bills

UK ‘Don’t Pay’ movement is advising cancellation of direct debits with gas and electricity suppliers

People Before Profit TD Paul Murphy has threatened to mount a campaign urging people to stop paying their energy bills. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins Photos Dublin

Gabija GataveckaiteIndependent.ie

A TD has threatened to mount a campaign urging people to stop paying their energy bills if the Government does not act to help struggling families and households.

The comments by People Before Profit’s Paul Murphy came as Government sources signalled that supports to help with energy bills will be “massive” when they are formally announced at the end of the month.

However, Mr Murphy warned that he will urge people to boycott paying their energy bills if the State does not take drastic action to lower costs.

In the UK a movement called “Don’t Pay” has urged people to cancel their gas and electricity direct-debit payments from October 1, with thousands already pledging their support.

Mr Murphy said that while his party is not urging a boycott yet, a protest group supported by People Before Profit called the Cost of Living Coalition, will consider it if the State does not take action.

The group is also supported by Sinn Féin, USI, Students for Change, Access For All Ireland, ESB pensioners, Pensioners Parliament, Joan Collins TD, Socialist Party, Security Workers United, Unite Dublin branch and more.

Mr Murphy said: “We think that people would have every justification in the world for not paying; the profiteering and price-gouging that is going on is absolutely outrageous.

Taoiseach Micheal Martin © PA

“At this stage we’re not calling on people not to pay, that isn’t a strategy or tactic that has been adopted, by example, by the Cost of Living Coalition. We’re focused on a major national protest on September 24.”

Mr Murphy said his party has been calling for price controls and nationalisation of energy companies for months.

“Organising a boycott would be a more difficult and complicated thing but if the Government doesn’t act, in terms of price controls, in terms of nationalisation, then that’s something that we will be discussing with campaigners down the road,” he said.

At the People Before Profit think-in earlier this week, the party called for a €1,000 cost-of-living payment to be paid to every household, at a cost of €2.5bn.

Mr Murphy’s comments come as Taoiseach Micheál Martin told reporters yesterday that interventions by the EU to tackle rising energy costs will stabilise the industry.

However, he said the “key intervention” will be the Budget and the cost of living package.

“It’s a different type of crisis [to the pandemic] but if we work collectively as a society and as a nation we can weather this very severe storm in respect of exponential increases in energy prices.”


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