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Cahir/Clonmel Area Local Election candidate Martin Lonergan has said that the expected increase in the cost of a bag of coal and a bale of peat briquettes which is set to come into effect from tomorrow will create additional and unnecessary burdens for those already experiencing fuel poverty. Mr Lonergan was speaking ahead of the latest hike in carbon tax will see the cost of a 40kg bag of coal rise by ?1.20 while a bale of peat briquettes will go up by an estimated 26 cent:

?There are already a considerable number of people in our communities experiencing severe hardship due to the fact that the Commission for Energy Regulation (ComReg) had previously allowed for the third October in a row an increase in gas prices.

Those increases created deep concern about the impact ESB price hikes are having on recipients of the Home Benefits Package in particular.

A recent analysis of the breakdown of costs revealed that of the ?35 received by recipients for home heating, almost two thirds of it is going to cover the standing charge and public service levy leaving a mere ?15 for heating.

This latest blow about the increase of coal and briquettes which many elderly folk in rural areas still prefer will come as further confirmation that they are simply being abandoned in terms of preventing fuel poverty.

I am calling on the Minister for Finance to accede to the request by the Chief executive of the Solid Fuel Trade Group John Keogh to defer this second rise in carbon tax.

People are already struggling trying to figure out where they can find the money for the property tax and upcoming water charges, but this is one tax that can be easily avoided,? concluded Mr Lonergan.