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Leo Varadkar: Government will intervene if ‘dramatic escalation’ in fuel prices is seen

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Tánaiste Leo Varadkar. Photo: Damien Storan

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar. Photo: Damien Storan

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar. Photo: Damien Storan

Tánaiste Leo Varakdar said the Government will intervene if “further dramatic escalation” in fuel prices is seen.

The Employment Minister said there won’t be an emergency budget before the annual announcement in October, however, he said he is reluctant to rule out anything as Government may have to intervene if fuel prices continue to rise.

"We have no plans for further intervention until budget day, and that will happen in the autumn,” he told RTÉ Radio 1’s Morning Ireland.

“I am reluctant to definitively rule anything out 100pc because this is a rapidly changing situation.

“I think if we were to see further dramatic escalation in fuel prices we would have to consider an intervention then.”

Asked if fuel prices are not already dramatic enough, the Tánaiste said “they are”, adding: “lets not forget what has been done, we have reduced excise diesel to the lowest allowed under European law, I know the cost of living in Ireland compares unfavorably in the EU, but if you look at the cost of diesel and petrol across Western Europe it's roughly the same.

"We also have the lowest VAT rate on electricity and gas and we have taken €200 off that bill.”

Mr Varadkar said the Government is waiting until the annual budget in October to make further changes, as bills will “hit even harder” then.

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"We would like to move when we think would be most effective and it is going to be going into the autumn period when energy bills are going to bite even harder than they are now,” he said.

"It is probably then that people are going to see increases in interest rates so rather than a series of small interventions across the summer [we will wait until autumn].”

The Tánaiste said the economy in Ireland is currently in “very good condition”.

He added: “There are more people in work than ever before, more people earning more than ever before, record trade numbers.

“We do have financial firepower that we didn’t have in the past and some of it can go towards public sector pay.”

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