IRELANDIC CONSUMER PRICES increased by an average of 7.8% in the 12 months to May – the fastest rate in almost 38 years – up from 7% during the year to April.
This is the largest annual increase in the consumer price index since 1984, when annual inflation was marginally higher at 7.9%.
Consumer price inflation has risen at an annual rate of 5% or more since October 2021, according to the Central Statistics Office (CSO).
Sky-high energy costs are driving up price increases with electricity, which is now 41% higher than at this time last year. Gas is 57% more expensive and solid fuels have increased by 26%.
The largest increase is seen in domestic heating oil, which has more than doubled in cost, with an increase of 102%.
The annual change in transport costs reflects an increase in the costs of diesel (+ 41.6%), petrol (+ 25.9%), car purchases (+ 13.2%) and air fares (+ 45.4%) compared to May 2021.
People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett is one of the organizers of a Cost of Living Coalition on Saturday 18 June and stated today that radical measures are needed to address the cost of living crisis.
“With the double cost of living crisis and the housing crisis going completely out of control, there is a total lack of urgency on the part of this government to take serious action.
“We need immediate controls on the prices of basic goods and tools and serious measures on the issue of prohibitive rents and house prices. Wages and incomes must be protected and raised.
“The government is failing to respond to this crisis in any serious way. That is why we need people to take to the streets to protest and demand action.”
The protest is supported by the Dublin and Waterford Trades Councils, the National Housing and Homeless Coalition, as well as by Sinn Fein, People Before Profit and Independent TDs.
Saint Vincent de Paul also stated that today’s figures were of “significant concern” for families as it has registered over 78,000 calls for help so far this year – an increase of about 20% compared to last year.
Dr Tricia Keilthy, SVP Head of Social Justice, said: “Data from ESRI and the central bank clearly show the disproportionate effect of rising prices on low-income households.
“Social welfare rates should serve as a lifeline and keep people with low and fixed incomes floating in the sea of rising living costs. Increasing them before inflation is the only way to protect people. This should be a first step in a broader plan to strengthen our social security systems that make it more resilient to economic shocks and enable people to live with dignity. “
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The price of groceries has also increased significantly in the past year. The national average price of a loaf of sliced pan bread increased by more than 12 cents, while brown sliced pan rose by more than 17 cents during the year.
A package of 500 g spaghetti is now 19 cents more expensive than in May last year. However, the average price of a 2.5 kg bag of potatoes fell by 28.5 cents.
On a monthly basis, costs for housing and amenities such as electricity, water and gas rose by 3.7% since April. However, transport costs fell by 1.7% – mainly due to lower air, bus and train prices.
In April, the central bank predicted that inflation would peak at an average of 7.7% in the second quarter of this year and remain above 7% in the third before falling to 5.1% in the last three months of 2022.
The statistics have been released as The European Central Bank is expected to announce the end date of its stimulus for bond purchases todayas a prelude to raising interest rates for the first time in over a decade.
Meanwhile, a new tax range of 30% considered to help with the rising cost of living.
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