Fuel rationing in Ireland “could be a reality in the autumn”, Dublin's EU commissioner Mairead McGuinness has warned, adding that the country is expected to face major energy problems in the coming months amid the ongoing conflict in Eastern Europe.
“We’re trying to make sure that when it comes to increased energy risk in the autumn and winter that we’re ready for it,” McGuinness said in a Wednesday interview with the Irish Mirror.
The last time Ireland introduced petrol rationing was during the oil crisis of the 1970s. Back then, the measure brought chaos at the pumps.
The EU has faced an energy crunch over the past months as member countries took steps to decrease Russian energy supplies after Moscow launched its military operation in Ukraine.
Some EU officials have accused the Kremlin of using energy resources as a political weapon, saying that the Ukrainian conflict is responsible for the prices of petrol and diesel soaring, spikes in inflation and the cost of living skyrocketing. Moscow has rejected the accusations, saying that the current crisis is a result of systemic mistakes in the economic policies implemented by Western leaders.
McGuinness warned that if the squeeze on fuel continues in the coming months, which is likely, then rationing may have to become part of everyday life, adding that the EU is working on further relief measures for households if prices keep rising.
Ireland has contingency plans ready to implement if there are issues with supply in the coming months, the Tánaiste (deputy prime minister) Leo Varadkar said in response to the warning.
At the same time, he expressed hope that the plans wouldn’t need to be implemented.
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