Taoiseach Micheal Martin responds to calls from Eamon Ryan for people to spend less time in the shower

Taoiseach Micheál Martin urged people to be more “energy efficient” as Energy Minister Eamon Ryan called on people to spend less time in the shower to help cut electricity bills.

Mr Ryan also wants people to slow down when driving to reduce fuel consumption.

Mr Martin said he would not be ‘dismissive’ of the Green Party leader’s suggestions.

The government has introduced an energy rebate of €200 for every household in the country that will soften the blow of soaring bills in the coming weeks, as well as reductions in excise duty on fuel, among other measures.

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But the benefits have already been wiped out for most homes, as fuel costs have already risen so sharply this year.

And the Taoiseach has ruled out any further – short-term – government support for households struggling to make ends meet as the cost of living continues to soar.

Mr Martin indicated that was all for now as he said ‘gut reactions’ were not the best way to deal with the crisis.

He said the government: ‘cannot take action every week in response to every price increase that may occur’.

Households have been hammered by skyrocketing bills, with electricity and gas up 20% and 30% in the past few weeks alone and inflation nearing 8%.

Speaking at the launch of 1,000 new jobs at financial services firm Workday in Dublin city centre, the Taoiseach said: ‘The government has allocated around £2billion from the Budget to address the issues cost of living and this ranges from certain universal measures, the €200 reduction in electricity bills, but also by targeting the fuel allowance and the fuel bonus and also by reducing transport costs and a number of other measures.

“So the government has already gone further than other EU countries in terms of dealing with cost of living issues.”

Mr Martin added: ‘Energy efficiency makes sense at any time of the year, crisis or no crisis, so let’s not be so dismissive either (Mr Ryan’s suggestions for showering and driving ).

“Energy efficiency is an important issue, which is why we invest so much money in homes to allow people to retrofit their homes to be more energy efficient, which means lower costs.”

Meanwhile, Mr Ryan told RTE’s Morning Ireland that the government’s priority will be to help those most at risk of fuel poverty, through a set of specific measures to be announced soon.

He said: “We need to target people in fuel poverty in particular.

“Some of these measures will take time, some of them will be better placed for the budget, where we really need to look at how the welfare system can kick in, and it will take time for that right to work.

“We need to focus on energy efficiency. All the (international) advice is that the next phase really needs to be about energy efficiency, helping people save money with practical measures to lower the bill.

“So we’re going to be bringing to government in the next two weeks some of these measures, some of them are in the planning systems, some of them are in the regulations, and there will be a campaign to help explain to the public what are the simple ways of what bills can be reduced.

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