Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice claims that any increase in the carbon tax in future Budgets would have the potential to “cripple those living in rural Ireland”.
Deputy Fitzmaurice was heavily critical of An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and other politicians for supporting such measures.
“If the tax was to increase to €80 per tonne, a total of 21.2c would be added to the price of a litre of diesel…then people in rural Ireland will be forced to carry the burden once again.
“The Taoiseach has continued to repeat the line that the tax is not designed to take money out of people’s pockets, but rather to encourage a change in behaviour.
“But people in rural Ireland – and especially farmers – will have an unfair burden to carry once again, compared to those living in cities.
“It is obvious that those living in cities would find it easier to lead a low-carbon lifestyle versus a person living in the countryside.
“People in cities have better access to public transport and are also likely to have a variety of services on their doorstep. On the other hand, a car is a necessity for someone living in rural Ireland.
“It is ironic that the Taoiseach is advocating for an increase to the carbon tax at a time when rural bus routes are being cut and when pensioners are being forced to travel longer distances to get to post offices in order to collect their pensions,” he said.
The Roscommon-Galway TD also believes any carbon tax increase would have an adverse effect on agriculture.
“If the carbon tax was increased in the next Budget, the price of fuel would jump as well – further harming the already tight profit margins achieved by farmers when they bring their produce to market after months of labour.
“This fuel hike would also see the price of food for all consumers rise, given that the produce is transported around the country by lorries.
“It is evident that this notion that significant increases to the carbon tax in the next Budget will set us on the right path to bridging the gap to our EU climate change targets was dreamed up inside the M50, without any thought for those living in rural Ireland,” Deputy Fitzmaurice said.