Huge impact on income of rural dwellers.
Sligo News File
The Government is proposing to jack up taxes to punish users of household fuels.
Carbon levies are to be also imposed on a slew of other lines, including petrol and diesel, costs which will have a significant impact on incomes of rural dwellers in particular.
The purpose of the levies is to force people to stop using regular carbon-rich fuels because scientists claim the fuels produce greenhouse gases that are threatening the future of the planet. Many eminent experts disagree with the measure.
In many places, the levies are viewed as a scam. They do nothing for climate change – millions of euros annually taken from the pockets of the people end up as part of government finances. That’s it.
A few months ago, Ontario’s rightwing government halted a carbon pricing policy aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Premier, Doug Ford branded carbon tax schemes as “no more than government cash grabs that do nothing for the environment, while hitting people in the wallet…”
Cancelling the tax “will result in lower prices at the gas pump, on your home heating bills and on virtually every other product that you buy,” he told residents of the region.
Just last month, people of France took to the streets in their thousands to face down a government hell-bent on driving up carbon levies. They succeeded; Macron, the president, dropped the plan like a hot potato.
In Ireland, the call is for taxes to be hiked to a new record level. The ERSI has projected that to meet legally-binding targets rates will have to increase from €100 per person a year to €1,500 a year.
While all of this is happening, Fianna Fail is moving a Dail Bill to make it a criminal offence for a householder or other person to be in possession of solid fuel, including turf, they haven’t purchased from a registered supplier.
An authorised official will be empowered to arrest and detain the householder or any person unable to account for goods, alcohol or tobacco product in their possession or control. The authorised person will also be empowered to seize other goods. A person alleged to be in breach of the regulations may be taken by the investigating official to a garda station.
Those allegedly guilty of an offence will be liable to on-the-spot fines or fines or imprisonment on where convicted by a court.
Michael Healy-Rea wasn’t happy. For God’s sake, he said “the Government cannot go after the man or woman who might be supplementing his or her income a little by selling timber or turf. We cannot throw common sense out the window.”
Deputy Mick Barry and Deputy Paul Murphy voted against the second reading. They had concerns about the emphasis of the Bill on criminalising buyers of goods rather than those making profits from goods. The two were also concerned about the increased power of arrest and search without warrant contained in the Bill which has the potential to be misused.
The Bill is sponsored by TD’s Declan Breathnach, Robert Troy and John Lahart. It has been voted for by among others Marc MacSharry, Eamon Scanlon, Dara Calleary and Michael Fitzmaurice.
Breathnach said he was delighted the bill had passed the second stage “despite government opposition.”