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Barack Obama Plaza energy bill jumped to €72k this year, says Supermac’s founder Pat McDonagh

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Supermacs CEO Pat McDonagh. Photo: Frank McGrath

Supermacs CEO Pat McDonagh. Photo: Frank McGrath

Supermacs CEO Pat McDonagh. Photo: Frank McGrath

Supermac’s chief executive Pat McDonagh said he fears the cost of living crisis will fuel the “greatest recession” in decades – noting his own energy bill at his outlet at the Barack Obama Plaza went from around €18,000 last year to a whopping €72,000 this year.

"I’m nearly 45 years in business and this is probably the greatest challenge and the greatest recession I see coming down the line since I started in business. It’s affecting everyone right across the board,” he told host David McCullagh on RTÉ One’s new current affairs programme Monday Night Live.

“What I fear is there will be a lot more job losses down the line,” he said, noting that the food service and hospitality industries that use a lot of energy and face soaring costs from food and other suppliers will be hit particularly hard.

Meanwhile, Catriona Twomey of Cork’s Penny Dinners charity said it is now serving 4,500 meals a week, up from around 3,000 in previous years.

“The cost of living has impacted so many people now and it’s right across the board, so every day we get new people with new stories,” she revealed in the first of an eight-part series, which focused on the cost of living crisis.

“But all the same, they haven’t enough money to make ends meet so the cost of living is crippling all the people that have to come to us,” she said.

She cited the example of a couple who came to them last week who were “left skint” after filling their home heating oil tank and had no money for food to feed themselves and their three children.

“They were out of their heads with worry,” she said. “You could tell the stress and the pain that they were going through because they almost choked trying to get their story out.”

“We meet so many people that are hurt, that feel this pain and just cannot manage through the high cost of living that’s there at the minute.”

Ms Twomey said she is also seeing a new cohort of the “working poor” who are not only getting free meals but taking home a “survival bag” consisting of sandwiches, fruit and water to their families.

The new series which fills the gap left by Claire Byrne Live is hosted by familiar RTÉ faces, including David McCullagh, Sharon Tobin, Louise Byrne and Mark Coughlan.

It replaces the time slot that featured Claire Byrne Live for the past seven years that ended last May when Ms Byrne opted to focus on her daily radio show.

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Guests on Monday night’s episode included Higher Education Minister Simon Harris, Louise O'Reilly, Sinn Fein TD for Dublin Fingal, editor of The Currency, Ian Kehoe, and journalist Jennifer O'Connell from The Irish Times. It also featured comedian and Writer Martin ‘Beanz’ Warde, and Dr Paul Dean of MaREI, the SFI Research Centre for Energy, Climate and Marine.

The new panel discussion show features an hour-long programme dedicated to major issues of the day and will feature four guest panellists and invited studio guests.


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