Cost of living measures in Budget will be ‘evidence based’, Taoiseach says

It is not sustainable to chase inflation with packages from month to month, says Martin

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the October budget will make a substantial difference to those experiencing cost-of-living hardship but all but ruled out further measures over the summer.

Speaking in the wake of several street protests over price rises, he said the cost of living was not something that could be chased from month to month. A sustainable approach was needed rather than introducing ad hoc measures that could change monthly, he said.

In an interview on Newstalk, Mr Martin said the summer economic statement would be the key next milestone in relation to the budget and the cost of living issue as it would “lay out what is available in terms of funds”.

More immediate measures were “not planned for now,” the Taoiseach said.


“We are very conscious that we are dealing with a very uncertain situation. If you look even at the energy situation it is very very bad for people out there because of the war in Ukraine and all that is happening around that,” he said.

“If you look again this week Russia is now reducing its gas supplies via the Nord Stream to the West. That could create even further problems as we head in to the winter.

“I am very conscious that the winter could be very challenging from an energy perspective and a cost of living perspective. So we need to work really on the evidence-based approach of the ESRI report that was published this week and look at targeted, and in some instances, temporary measures that will get us through this crisis for people.”

He also referred to “measures that would dovetail with more sustainable, long-term policies we are doing anyway”, citing the reduction in public transport fares as an example.

The Government was conscious of the “acute pressures” facing the public, he said. “We do get that. We know it will be a cost-of-living budget. But I think we have to do it in a way that is sustainable. . . If we start just doing packages one month and the next month the pressure will continue and continue. It is far better that we do more sustained comprehensive measures that will be sustainable over the winter period and take people through the winter period,” the Taoiseach said.

Asked about the housing crisis, the Taoiseach said: “We just are simply not building enough houses and we haven’t been building enough houses for the last five or six years. That’s the fundamental issue in terms of the whole housing situation in Ireland.

“Population is a big factor. The growth of the Irish population perhaps is something that hasn’t been taken into account across a range of public services and, in my view, the next census will reveal a significant population growth if you look at where we were in the early 1990s, for example, compared to the population now. But we need to move significantly beyond the 20,000 figure [of new homes built annually] that we have at the moment - 20,000 last year, 24,500 at the end of this year. We have to get significantly above that to put a dent into this situation.”