McNamara Urges Government To Seek VAT Reduction On Home Heating Oil

Clare Independent TD Michael McNamara has urged the Irish government to make a fresh appeal to Brussels for approval to reduce VAT on home heating oil during the war in Ukraine, which is driving price increases.

Deputy McNamara said the European Commission’s approval for a VAT cut from 13.5% to 9% on gas but not oil would disproportionately affect rural householders, the majority of which heated their homes by oil, coal or turf, or a combination of all three.

“I would love to see sustainable, renewable alternatives put in place, but this hasn’t happened and isn’t happening and until it does, people with no alternative but to go cold are effectively being discriminated against,” explained Deputy McNamara.

“The VAT cut on electricity and gas will offset next month’s carbon tax increase for many urban dwellers who heat their home with gas, but rural households will not benefit to the same extent as they cannot connect to a gas supply,” he added.

Deputy McNamara continued “The cost of kerosene has increased by 127% over the past year while the carbon tax increase will see a 900-litre tank of kerosene will go up by a further €19.40. This reality needs to be impressed upon the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni by Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe. There is no point in a government representing urban dwellers only in Brussels. The interests of rural householders, who cannot connect to a gas supply, equally need to be represented.”

Deputy McNamara has also requested the government to commit to extending the proposed VAT cuts until the end of the war in Ukraine.

He said, “The proposed VAT cuts will apply to the end of October only which makes little sense as we head into the winter period when energy bills go up in households across the country.”

Meanwhile, Deputy McNamara said the Environment Minister’s plans to ban sales of turf from September was “another case of putting the cart before the horse.”

He called for the government to focus on accelerating plans to deliver affordable sustainable energy retrofits rather than punishing people who do not have access to, or cannot afford, an alternative.

“I support the move to sustainable energy sources but unfortunately, I don’t see this government doing much about moving society over to sustainable sources. We need to focus on heating people’s homes through sustainable means instead of leaving people with no alternative sitting in the cold which is the effect the proposed ban on the sale of turf will have for some,” stated Deputy McNamara.

“Eamon Ryan, Micheal Martin and Pascal Donohoe should bear in mind that every one of their constituents in Dublin and Cork cities have piped gas available to their door, but this is not the case across rural Ireland,” he concluded.