Thomas Pringle TD

Pringle says EU must recognise big oil and energy companies’ role in energy and economic crisis

Pringle says EU must recognise big oil and energy companies’ role in energy and economic crisis

Independent TD for Donegal, Thomas Pringle, said the European Council focus on Russia’s responsibility for the energy and economic crisis is ignoring the role of big oil and energy companies.

He also repeated his call on Government to ensure that Irish neutrality is not being compromised.

Addressing the Dáil on Wednesday, Deputy Pringle said: “As I understand it, the recent European Council meeting was dedicated to Ukraine, energy and the economy.” He said it was the seventh time since Russia began the war that EU leaders have discussed the situation in Ukraine.

The deputy said: “However, I fear that due to the constant focus on Russia, the EU is failing to adequately address other issues as well. For example, I note that at the council meeting, EU leaders reiterated that ‘Russia bears the sole responsibility for the current energy and economic crisis’.

“This simply isn’t true. We know that energy was increasing in price significantly before any Russian invasion of Ukraine,” he said, adding, “No doubt that the war on Ukraine has exacerbated it and added to the difficulties but it is not the sole cause of it.”

Deputy Pringle said: “We know that this energy and cost-of-living crisis is largely due to the fault, I believe, of corporate profits.

“Big oil and energy companies have doubled and tripled their profits this year, making eye-watering money. The more we point the finger at Russia, the more corporate greed is being allowed and facilitated.

“We need to be honest about where this energy crisis is coming from and what exactly it is that we have to do to address it,” the deputy said.

The deputy addressed the Dáil during statements post European Council meeting of Oct. 20th-21st.

Deputy Pringle said: “Again, this meeting raised concerns for me regarding Ireland’s neutrality as well. We need to ensure that our neutrality is not being compromised when discussions such as these take place.”

He said: “We must remember that standing with Ukraine and continuing to maintain our military neutrality are not mutually exclusive, either. I think we can actually do both and we can maintain what has been a very honourable role for Ireland in the world situation.”

The deputy said NATO has done a lot to drive the current situation, saying, “There’s no excuse for Russia invading Ukraine, but there is no excuse for the behaviour of NATO either in pushing and pushing and pushing this and using Ukraine as a proxy for its own conflict with Russia as well, because I think that’s what has been happening across the board here.

“So I think we have to be very careful and I think we have to maintain our own neutrality because our neutrality gives us a unique and much-needed voice for peace in Europe and throughout the world and I think we should be using that and we should be proud to use that as well,” he said.

Deputy Pringle said: “I also note as well that the Council mentioned the EU military assistance mission, the first common security and defence policy mission to be conducted on EU soil. They also noted that the EU military assistance programme provided to Ukraine since the start of the war was €3.1 million.

“Ireland’s membership of any military alliance and contribution to any type of military mission would undermine our reputation as a neutral state and we must remember this,” he said.