Local election candidates have hit out this week at the increase in fuel costs that are to come into effect this week.
Fianna FÃ¡il candidate for Cashel-Tipperary Joseph Oâ€™Connell has expressed serious concern about the introduction of a new Carbon Tax from this week.
Mr Oâ€™Connell says the new tax on solid fuels, which takes effect from this Thursday, May 1, means that the price of a 40kg bag of coal will rise by as much as â‚¬1.30 in Tipperary, with the cost of briquettes also increasing. This is on top of a similar increase last year.
â€œThe jump in Carbon Tax will have a severe impact on older people and families who cannot pay their basic household bills. Many people across Co Tipperary are having serious difficulty finding the money to pay for fuel due to continuous increases in costs. This new tax will make a bad situation worse,â€ Mr Oâ€™Connell said.
â€œThe very last thing that cash-strapped households need is an increase in the price of coal or briquettes. Many households have gone back to using solid fuels considering the price hikes in oil and gas. These people simply cannot afford to pay more to heat their homes. On top of this Budget 2014 also saw the Fuel Allowance reduced from 32 weeks to 26 weeks; it has meant that in some instances families were faced with heating their homes or feeding themselves. This is an unpalatable decision and highlights the lack of empathy the Government in Dublin has with struggling families here in Tipperary.
Cahir/Clonmel candidate Martin Lonergan has said that the expected increase in the cost of a bag of coal and a bale of peat briquettes will create additional and unnecessary burdens for those already experiencing fuel poverty.
Mr Lonergan was speaking ahead of the latest hike in carbon tax will see the cost of a 40kg bag of coal rise by â‚¬1.20 while a bale of peat briquettes will go up by an estimated 26 cent:
â€œThere are already a considerable number of people in our communities experiencing severe hardship due to the fact that the Commission for Energy Regulation (ComReg) had previously allowed for the third October in a row an increase in gas prices.
Those increases created deep concern about the impact ESB price hikes are having on recipients of the Home Benefits Package in particular.
A recent analysis of the breakdown of costs revealed that of the â‚¬35 received by recipients for home heating, almost two thirds of it is going to cover the standing charge and public service levy leaving a mere â‚¬15 for heating, he said.