From Socialist Voice, August 2008

The central question is control of our natural wealth

Along with the growing economic crisis, and with jobs being lost daily, families throughout the country are facing massive increases in energy prices, along with rising mortgages and interest rates.
• The average Irish household will spend up to €2,100 per year on energy, an increase of 19 per cent on the 2006 average of €1,767.
• One in ten households is slipping into “fuel poverty,” where more than 10 per cent of their income goes on energy bills. Low-income families will spend more than 13 per cent of their income on energy.
• About 40 per cent of this money will go on heating the home.
• Domestic electricity prices have doubled since 2000, while households are using 60 per cent more electricity than in 1990.
• Natural gas prices have gone up by 87 per cent.
     The soaring price of petrol and diesel is putting additional pressures on working families. Many working people, forced out by the exorbitant house prices in cities and big towns, have bought a house in “dormitory” towns and villages, long distances from their place of work.
     They are now burdened not just with rising electricity and gas prices but also rising oil and diesel prices and rising interests rates. The children of the “Celtic Tiger” will pay for this in coming years.
     The increases in oil prices, and the need for global energy security, raise the central question of national ownership of our massive natural wealth, both in our territorial waters and on land.

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