Europe has a significant role to play in driving down the costs families and businesses are facing, according to Munster Fianna Fáil MEP Billy Kelleher.
Speaking to the Limerick Post, Mr Kelleher said the issues around the cost of living were among the biggest concerns Limerick people were raising with him on his recent visit to the city.
He said that having met butchers and business owners in various parts of the city, increases in the cost of food in supermarkets was a major concern, and that he and his colleagues in the European Commission were working to try and bring about a reduction in the price of input costs.
“Fertiliser has a huge impact on the cost of food, so if you’ve a very expensive fertiliser – we do need to look at that area to try and drive that price down to make sure food is affordable to people.
Mr Kelleher said that businesses are struggling in trying to balance the rising costs for not only them but their employees as well. He said that there is a balance to be struck for businesses to be able to weather rising costs without passing cost increases on to consumers.
“To get that balance right in the time ahead is going to be critical. Government, energy companies, and those that are largely involved in the cost of living increase have an obligation to be conscious in making sure that we don’t put families under pressure.”
Energy has also been cited as a significant concern among Limerick business owners, farmers, and members of the public alike, according to Mr Kelleher.
However, he says that Europe have made moves in the right direction in terms of reducing the costs of energy to customers.
“In terms of energy, that is predominantly a market-driven commodity but because Europe is such a large market, it should have influence and use its muscle to try and ensure that there is downward pressure on energy costs and energy prices.
“The first thing after the invasion of Ukraine]was to ensure that we could get additional gas supplies from elsewhere around the world and Europe is very proactive in that to the point now where we’re almost weaned off Russian gas.”
Speaking of his visit to Limerick, Mr Kelleher said that it was eye-opening to visit the city and speak to local business owners.
“From meeting businesses in the Crescent Shopping Centre, shop owners in the Farmers Market, and being present at a number of awards presentations, I got to see some of what Limerick City has to offer.
“We must continue full speed ahead on all remaining aspects of the Limerick Regeneration Project to ensure that all communities in the city benefit from this exciting investment programme.”