News & Media

Taoiseach can’t answer if the lights will turn on in January

29 September 2021

Statement by Alan Kelly TD
Party Leader and Spokesperson on Northern Ireland

Raising the public's concerns about the looming energy crisis, Labour leader Alan Kelly has asked the Taoiseach to guarantee that ordinary people won’t have to pick up the tab for poor planning. Deputy Kelly said that Government must commit to protecting vulnerable people against the increased cost of living in Ireland this winter.

Deputy Kelly said:

“The lack of clarity from government on the energy crisis is extraordinary and is sounding alarm bells across the country. The Commission for Regulation of Utilities has warned today that people will face higher charges due to record demand and reduced supply. Prices have already massively increased and now they’re being told more are to come. Yet, in all of this it’s not clear who is actually in charge of keeping the lights on in Ireland this winter.

“The constant kite flying and bandying around of terms like ‘blackouts’ is very unfair to people – they should know it causes alarm and anxiety. After a hard year for all, what people want is some certainty and the increased alarm around whether we’ll have the energy to light our Christmas trees this year is hugely concerning. People are already feeling the cost of living in their pockets, we can’t have them feeling the cold in their homes too.

“The Tánaiste previously wanted Ireland to become a ‘Data Centre Capital’. With these centres soaking up to 25% of our power, it looks like we have a government sleepwalking this country into an energy crisis. The Budget is an opportunity to abate people’s fears. Government must take action to stop the crisis coming now – like broadening the means tested fuel allowance – as well as more long term steps - like providing incentives to encourage more people to install solar panels. We cannot have people going cold this winter.

“Rather than kite-flying, people need a plan for how government will address this energy crisis in the immediate future and more long term. It cannot be ordinary people who bear the price for government incompetence in managing Ireland’s energy capacity. With many people continuing to work from home during the winter, how will people heat their homes without fearing insurmountable energy bills?”