Increased costs to farmers leading to higher prices for everyone – Matt Carthy TD
‘Food is the latest necessity to see substantial price hikes’. So said the Sinn Féin Agriculture spokesperson, Matt Carthy, during a Dáil debate where he criticised government failure to address the cost-of-living crisis facing workers and families.
Speaking on a Sinn Féin motion which called for supports to be directed at those who are hardest hit by food inflation, Deputy Carthy said that government actions have actually added to the soaring costs.
“The truth is that food is just the latest necessity to see substantial price hikes. That is not an accident. Farm input costs have been increasing dramatically for several months, indeed, for the past year, and the Government has failed to act adequately. It was warned that this would happen if it did not act.
“Costs of fuel, one very important input, have been rising. There are international factors at play, but the Government actually forced higher prices.
When government increased the carbon tax it increased the cost of producing food. When government increased the carbon tax it increased the cost of transporting food. Hey presto, food prices have soared.
“Then we hear a Minister of State tell us tonight that the Government will not be found wanting. Government has been found wanting on every single parameter when it comes to the cost-of-living crisis that so many workers and families are experiencing.
“We have advocated for years that we must freeze rents and put a month’s rent back into people’s pockets. The Government has refused to act.
“On mortgages, we had the Tánaiste, Leo Varadkar, calling for the European Central Bank to intervene, essentially calling for an interest rate hike.
“No action has been taken on childcare costs, one of the major costs facing many families, to date.
“We have seen token measures on energy. There was a €200 rebate, which was wiped out before it was even implemented.
“On fuel, the Government gives with one hand in terms of minimal excise reductions but then it takes with the other through increases in the carbon tax.
“As regards heating costs, government has done nothing whatsoever in respect of home heating oil other than to force the price higher through carbon taxes. Then there are its harebrained ideas to ban some sources of home heating fuel.
“The huge costs people are now enduring for food are again partly the result of this Government’s failure to act.
“What has been proposed so far to support families with rising food costs? Nothing yet.
“Listening to the remarks of the Ministers nobody can have confidence that this Government either understands the scale of the crisis people are facing or has any intention of acting appropriately.
“All this debate has reaffirmed to me and to anybody watching it is that it is time for a change. It is time for the policies that Pearse Doherty, Claire Kerrane and the Sinn Féin team have put forward.
“It is certainly time to get the Government out of office. It is time to allow Sinn Féin to provide the supports our families and workers so desperately need”.