Taoiseach accused of ‘not living in real world’ over inflation

Opposition parties on Tuesday rounded on the Government, accusing it of overseeing a cost-of-living crisis.

Dominic McGrath
Tuesday 25 January 2022 15:50
Opposition parties on Tuesday lambasted the Government, accusing it of overseeing a cost-of-living crisis (Damien Storan/PA)
Opposition parties on Tuesday lambasted the Government, accusing it of overseeing a cost-of-living crisis (Damien Storan/PA)

Opposition parties on Tuesday lambasted the Government accusing it of overseeing a cost-of-living crisis.

At leaders’ questions in the Dail Taoiseach Micheál Martin was accused of “not living in the real world” amid warnings of long-term inflation hitting people’s pockets.

Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald told the Fianna Fail leader the cost of living has become “unbearable”, and accused the coalition Government of lacking urgency on the issue.

She said that, two years on from the Irish general election, “people see that these crises in housing and health have only gotten worse”.

She said: “People are under huge pressure as they’re hammered by non-stop price hikes in every area and the living standard of workers and families is squeezed by the highest rate of inflation in 20 years, and a lack of government action.”

At leaders’ questions in the Dail, Taoiseach Micheál Martin was accused of “not living in the real world” amid warnings of long-term inflation hitting people’s pockets (Brian Lawless/PA)

Referencing Mr Martin’s own rhetoric last Friday as he announced the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions, she said: “For far too many people, being ourselves again means the stress and the struggle of trying to keep up with soaring costs while wages stay the same.

“The yearly cost of putting food on the table is to go up by nearly 800 euro, the cost of running a car by an average of 500 euro. Record rents up by 8.1%. Families paying the equivalent of a second mortgage in childcare costs. The cost of lighting and heating your home up a massive 53%

“It’s never-ending.”

A one-off 100 euro credit for energy bills, she said, would not abate the situation for families and households.

Labour leader Alan Kelly also seized on the same issue, rubbishing the Government’s defence that inflation has been driven by international factors.

“It is not an excuse that we want. It is solutions,” Mr Kelly told Mr Martin.

“I honestly don’t think you’re living in the real world,” he said.

“Even international factors that have an impact on families and workers in this country, it is your job to deal with them, to deal with what is real.”

He called the current Government policy on the cost of living a “joke” and called for a rent freeze, as well as a derogation of VAT on energy costs.

Mr Martin, responding to the Sinn Fein and Labour leaders, said: “This Government has embarked in a step change in relation to housing.”

Hitting back at Ms McDonald’s criticism over spiralling waiting lists, he said: “You omitted completely any reference to the fact that our health service has stood up to a one-in-a-hundred-year event, the pandemic.”

He also accused Sinn Fein of opposing recent housing developments and said the Government had introduced “targeted interventions” in recent months to support families.

“We have to avoid a wages spiral that will just create a further inflation spiral,” Mr Martin said.

“We have to think intelligently as a country as to how we protect families.”

Mr Kelly rejected this argument, warning that people will suffer if further actions are not taken.

“Workers have every right to look for pay increases to deal with inflation because your Government will not deal with it, and you can’t sit there and say that they shouldn’t.

“They will. They can. They must. Because you will not deal with it.”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in