Ireland’s Finance Minister Michael Noonan has said that a series of measures that were announced by the Government last week will only serve to delay the introduction of new regulations for the fuel industry.
The Government has now promised that fuel will be taxed for the first time, but Mr Noonan said that while this was a good start, it would not be enough.
He said that if the fuel sector was to take responsibility for the crisis, it needed to be able to make a transition to a carbon neutral economy.
Mr Noonn said that he had been in contact with representatives of the Irish Petroleum Industry (IPI), and had asked them to come up with proposals.
“The Irish Government needs to go further, they need to go beyond that and to give them the resources to take a real action and get the fuel economy that we need,” he said.
“It is not enough to say that it is too late to get to carbon neutrality.”
The Irish government has pledged to introduce carbon taxes on fuel in the next fiscal year, and is also planning to introduce an excise duty on diesel fuel and a tax on imported gas.
It has promised to phase in the measures by the end of the year.
The fuel industry has said the tax on diesel is not necessary, and that the Irish Government has not given the fuel and vehicle industries enough information on how it will implement the tax.
It is also opposed to a levy on imported petrol, saying that it could lead to shortages.
Fuel prices have also been rising as part of the crisis.
The price of a litre of diesel jumped more than 10% in the first week of December, with a rise of 1.3% on Thursday.
The rise came as fuel prices jumped to a new record high of €4.98 per litre on Friday, according to the European Central Bank.
In addition, the price of petrol, which is more expensive than diesel, was also up by more than 4%.
The rise in fuel prices is partly due to the government’s plan to introduce a fuel tax, but is also linked to the price rises in diesel and petrol.
In December, Ireland had been hit by an outbreak of coronavirus in some of its hospitals, which led to a huge increase in hospital admissions and deaths.
The government has been criticised by the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAF), which said the increase in the number of hospitalisations was “an immediate and serious public health emergency”.
A total of 5,878 deaths were reported in Ireland in December, compared to 5,000 in the same month of last year.
Mr Kerry said the government would continue to take the steps needed to secure Ireland’s climate leadership.
“We are in the process of meeting that challenge.
We are moving towards a low carbon economy and we are doing that by bringing forward the measures necessary to make that happen,” he told RTÉ’s Today with Sean O’Rourke.