Fine Gael energy spokesperson Bernard Durkan has accused the Irish government of doing little to promote a workable, sustainable energy policy and engaging in a high energy price approach that is hurting both businesses and consumers.

Mr Durkhan said that the government’s approvals of huge gas and electricity price increases is at best misguided and foolhardy and at worst irresponsible, particularly at a time when international energy price indicators are on a downward trajectory.

The government has defended the price hikes by stating that they will encourage new entrants into the energy market, but Mr Durkhan said that there is no guarantee that this will happen due to serious R&D-related issues and the need for government departments to better coordinate their efforts.

Unless minister Noel Dempsey has the government take immediate steps to combat high electricity and gas prices, this country will lose thousands more manufacturing jobs which will not be replaced, Mr Durkham continued. The price increases will also hit the already hard-pressed domestic consumer.

He also said that, in order to reduce Ireland’s dependency on gas and electricity imports, the country should focus on developing its own alternatives.