A spokesperson from Ireland's Fine Gael party has condemned the recent decision by the country's energy regulator to raise oil and gas prices, claiming that the move defies logic.

Fine Gael spokesperson on communications and natural resources Bernard Durkan said that it was unacceptable for the regulator and the Irish government to put prices up for consumers at a time when prices are falling on energy markets.

Mr Durkhan lambasted the government for its VAT take on electricity and gas, which he says has almost doubled between 2001 and 2005, and warned that continued energy price hikes could have a severely negative impact upon the manufacturing sector.

He also called for the Irish minister to review his decision to approve the regulator’s price rises, and stressed that more alternative energy initiatives should be implemented to help support the energy sector.

It has become patently obvious that the regulator appears to wish to drive energy prices upwards in order to attract more investors to the energy sector, Mr Durkham said. Fine Gael’s view is that that is not the route to go. It would be far more effective and would generate a great deal more competition to give urgent and active support to the alternative energy sector…thereby creating a downward competition which would have immediate and beneficial effect for the consumer.

He added, It does not require much imagination to see that the root of the problem lies in a minister who is happy to allow consumers to pay too much for their energy in order to build up the government’s election war chest while also unwilling to tackle vested interests in the ESB. The net losers are, as usual, consumers.