Energy price hikes are unsustainable as families forced to exist on breadline

As our earnings aren’t growing at a similar rate to inflation, which at 9.1 percent is the highest it has been in 38 years, it’s my opinion that the Government’s ‘proposal’ to provide every household with three discounts of €200 on our electricity bills (totalling €600), is not going to solve any issues for those of us already struggling.

Why? Well folks, to give you a brief snapshot of the sheer scale of the crisis we’re facing into; for families, senior citizens and small business owners I’ve spoken with, the choice between heating and eating is not going to become a dilemma, it’s already a fact of life. This is before these extremely worrying announcements were made that households may now face paying out six thousand euro on their annual energy bills. To that end the Government’s, (i.e. the majority shareholder of Electric Ireland, owning 95 percent if I’m correct), paltry bid to quell taxpayers’ anxiety by throwing money at the problem is insulting at best, neglectful at worst, when what they really should be doing is fixing this catastrophe for good.

Rather than floating around at his party’s ‘think-in’, ‘toying’ with the idea of slapping a windfall tax on energy companies, Environment Minister Eamon Ryan should stop morphing into Mystic Meg, ‘predicting’ we could receive ‘billions when the EU reaches agreement on redistributing excess profits from energy providers’, and instead, reduce the VAT the Government makes on energy. Okay, they did pay some of it back in the form of the energy credit.

As I understand it, we don’t produce much of the energy we use here in Ireland, rather what we have are mainly suppliers. Therefore, as it’s the producers/generators who’re making these sickeningly high profits, i.e. foreign businesses, this windfall tax Eamon’s considering imposing is merely a way of deflecting from the real issue; which is, the Government is minted, making big money as a result of our crisis.  As the aforementioned energy generators are largely not on Irish soil, slapping on this tax, even Eamon’s proposed tokenistic one, will prove to be tough to enforce, hence, we’ll have to go cap in hand to mammy Ursula von der Leyen for the EU’s approval!

Difficult position

I do understand Minister Ryan’s in a difficult position, but, when he says ‘it’s impossible to predict what might happen’, he’s being very naive. My Jack Russell terrier could’ve told him this situation would occur the second he closed our turf-burning power stations! The problem is, if we effectively burn (pardon the pun) these profit-guzzling energy generators, they may punish us by refusing to invest in our renewable energy initiative in the future.

As someone who isn’t on a pre-pay energy system, as in I don’t do a top up, I pay my bills through the old-fashioned standard system, I find every time I hear these announcements, feelings of anger and panic begin to set in. Anger, because the energy companies are raking it in, panic because, like the majority of readers, as my bills have doubled, I’m one of those who’re not just struggling; I’m also losing sleep. That’s because I’m concerned about what’s going to happen when winter arrives – because price hikes of this magnitude are literally unsustainable!

And, as it seems there’s no end in sight, because it’s not only energy bills that’re soaring, but also the weekly food bill, and the ongoing price hikes on petrol and diesel, etc., families are telling me they’re being forced to exist, day to day, on the breadline. I believe them because I too am feeling the pinch, and, given the extensive cost of living, I can understand how many people are being forced to raid their savings in a bid to try and cover their day to day living expenses. But what about those people who’re living from pay packet to pay packet, without the ability to tap into a savings safety net – for the simple reason they don’t have one? How will they/we cope?

A nation mourns the loss of two more precious little lives

Nobody does drama, pomp and ceremony like the British. Fair play to them. I’m referring to the exactness of the wording, the bowed heads, the grave expressions, the black attire, and the library footage repeated on a loop which are all part and parcel of the well rehearsed broadcast procedure surrounding Queen Elizabeth’s death.

As someone who worked on the production of a live TV show at RTE during the deaths of former Taoiseach Charles Haughey and Pope John Paul 11, I’m familiar with the protocols surrounding the breaking of bad news to the public, as in, been there, done that. You suspend the programme, you assume the sombre face, and, in pitch-perfect tone, you deliver the announcement and you read out the family’s first statement, etc.

However, while I fully sympathise with the British public and offer my sincere condolences on the passing of their ‘beloved’ Queen, at this stage, (and please forgive me readers), I’m so over it! Why? Because, quite honestly, I’m a proud Irish woman, and Queen Elizabeth, although revered and loved by many, had nothing whatsoever to do with me, and her passing, sad though it is, has no impact whatsoever on my life.

I mean no disrespect to any of my lovely British readers, my British friends or to my darling husband –  also British – but, truthfully, it annoys me that every time I turn on the radio, the TV or read a newspaper, I’m bombarded with the coverage. Oh, and not just occasional coverage…headline-making, blanket coverage; even down to everyone and their granny, (or local fishmonger), lining up for their fifteen minutes of fame to relive their ‘the day I met the Queen’ story.

Sorry, I’m on a bit of a rant…but what particularly annoys me is the way in which Virgin Media’s Ireland AM news bulletins began with broadcasts relating to the Queen’s passing and the accession of Charles to the throne, relegating the heartbreaking deaths of two innocent children in Multyfarnham to second or third place on their running order.

Surely the deaths of little Michael (2) and little Thelma (5) deserve to be given priority billing on an Irish news bulletin. It’s only my opinion, but without doubt, the impact this unspeakable tragedy has had on the family, the community and on the nation should have been properly positioned at the top of every Irish news media’s running order – as opposed to playing second fiddle to the death of our neighbour’s monarch.  I mean no offence or disrespect, but this is my opinion.

May the innocent little souls of Michael and Thelma rest in peace and may their poor family, friends, neighbours and community find the strength and the courage to see them through the days, weeks and months ahead.

Yep, follow me for relationship advice!

According to the Central Statistics Office, ‘almost two in three Irish women’ say they’re ‘mostly responsible’ for doing the housework. It’s for that reason I think ‘legal luvvie’ Judge Rinder’s ‘clean-up, pre-nup’ initiative is a great idea! Sadly, as pre-nups have no basis in Irish law, it’s unlikely couples here will be signing one.

When himself and myself were manacled together, I made it clear if hubby wanted a fairytale marriage – one that wasn’t scripted by the brothers Grimm… ‘Grimm’ being the operative word – then it wasn’t going to be a case of me pledging to love, hoover and obey, rather the cleaning duties would be shared equally. He agreed!

However, when it comes to cooking, there is no negotiation, I’m firmly in charge. This is for three reasons: one, I’m very fussy, two, hubby’s idea of food is to load up on as much bread, cheese, bags of crisps and mint chocolate as he can, and three…did I mention I’m very fussy?

So forget about that pre-nup readers, and instead, follow me for relationship advice!