Spring cost-of-living proposals will focus on people on low incomes - Tánaiste

Micheál Martin reiterates there will be ‘no cliff edge’ for supports

Dáil stock images Micheál Martin Pearse Doherty general shot

The Government is working on proposals to help people on low incomes cope with the cost-of-living crisis, Tánaiste Micheál Martin has said.

Mr Martin said inflation appears to have peaked and this has to be factored into Government considerations. The Tánaiste also said he also wanted the 50 per cent cut to public transport costs for students and young adults to be extended beyond 2023.

Senior Ministers will discuss the package of cost-of-living measures at a meeting on Thursday afternoon. It will be attended by Minister for Finance Michael McGrath, Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe, the three party leaders and Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys.

“We’re going to come forward with proposals to deal with people on low incomes, to target our resources to those on low incomes and that’s the measures that we’re now discussing among the party leaders,” Mr Martin told the Dáil during Leaders’ Questions on Thursday.


The Tánaiste said the Government would be holding a series of meetings over the coming days to ensure “there will not be a cliff edge” when an existing package of supports expires.

“We will continue to support families who are under pressure and continue to be under pressure because of the cost-of-living situation, but inflation appears to have peaked,” he said.

“It’s now trending downwards and that’s something that has to be factored in.”

Sinn Féin deputy leader Pearse Doherty pointed to the recent Barnardo’s report which found that one in 10 parents surveyed had used food banks over the past year, double the amount on the previous year.

Mr Doherty said the statistics were “damning” and a “shame” on Government policy. The Donegal TD said people were saddled with out of control rents, soaring energy bills, high travel costs and rising interest rates.

Mr Doherty said the Government had voted against motions put forward by his party calling for temporary mortgage interest relief and a spring bonus for those in receipt of social welfare.

“We all know the Government can’t do everything, we know that. But you can do much more and that is why we need a comprehensive support package now,” he said.

Mr Doherty added that households were struggling and many of them “have already been pushed to the brink” despite measures announced in Budget 2023.

Labour leader Ivana Bacik asked could the Government give assurances that financial supports due to be announced would be sustainable and environmentally proofed.

Ms Bacik said she knew there was “disquiet” in the Green Party that untargeted electricity credits may have done little to progress climate actions and “this was a real concern with that measure”.

The Dublin Bay South TD said her party was calling for a climate ticket, modelled on a German scheme, to enable people to take unlimited public transport journeys across train, tram and bus for €9 per month.

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns is a reporter for The Irish Times