Published: Thu, 17 March 2022
Seán Kelly, MEP for Ireland South, is calling on the European Commission to allow for greater flexibility in state aid rules for energy to help combat the recent spike in the price of electricity and gas.
“As those at home will know, gas prices have been rising for some time, but since Russia’s utterly unjustified invasion of Ukraine, there has been an unprecedented spike in prices globally. Along with the rising cost of living, this is putting a big strain on Irish households, with those on lower incomes feeling the most pressure,” said Kelly.
“The Government have taken some welcome measures to mitigate the impact of these price increases in the immediate term. However, to counter the risks of energy poverty, we need to solve the root problem causing the high prices, which is the EU’s over-reliance on Russian pipeline gas.”
“The only solution is to accelerate the deployment of renewables, and Ireland can be a real leader in this field” explained Kelly, who has been working on energy policy for several years as a full member of the European Parliament’s Industry, Research and Energy Committee. “However, we also need to diversity our gas supplies for the short and medium term to ensure we have energy security.”
“The Government needs to invest in developing domestic energy supplies. However, at the moment, they are constrained by EU rules prohibiting State aid. Faced with the current energy crisis, I believe that flexibility is required. Therefore, I’m calling on the Commission to adopt extraordinary measures to facilitate such Government subsidies.”
“Global demand and geopolitical tensions are going to continue to drive up prices for Irish consumers if we don’t take strong action now. The Commission needs to equip us with the tools to secure a home-grown, reliable energy supply in order to tackle rising energy costs,”
“The Irish people have shown a level of compassion that we all should be proud of, but we will feel the impact of the war in many different areas. Right now, we are seeing this with the significant rise in energy prices. This will be very hard to families and for businesses. We need to use every tool we have, including more flexible EU State aid rules, to get through the crisis,” Kelly concluded.