Minister Smith living in fantasy land on electricity levy – Ó Caoláin
Sinn Féin Dáil leader and Cavan-Monaghan TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has said that Agriculture Minister Brendan Smith is living in “fantasy land” after his defence of the new energy levy which will increase electricity prices by 5%. Deputy Ó Caoláin described the levy as “a recipe for more hardship and fewer jobs”.
Deputy Ó Caoláin said:
“The decision of the Fianna Fáil/Green Government to impose a 5% increase in electricity prices is indefensible. Agriculture Minister and Cavan-Monaghan Deputy Brendan Smith has attempted to defend this levy but he shows himself to be living in fantasy land, oblivious to the effects of this decision.
“This is a recipe for more hardship for struggling families and individuals. It will be an added burden especially for families on the margins whose incomes are not low enough to qualify for the medical card or Family Income Supplement, but who are struggling to pay mortgages, medical bills and the cost of sending children to school.
“This price rise is also a recipe for fewer jobs, hitting small and medium sized businesses especially hard. Minister Smith should be well aware of that reality, given the high dependence on the sector for employment in his constituency.
“The scandal is that this price rise is unnecessary. The ESB made a profit of €500 million in 2009. Its CEO was paid more than €750,000 in salary and bonuses last year. The Government should reverse its decision and stop this price rise.”