Fianna Fáil’s Business, Enterprise and Innovation Spokesperson, Billy Kelleher has said that increasing costs across a range of sectors is severely hampering Ireland’s competitiveness, and unless dealt with now, will jeopardise future job growth.

Deputy Kelleher was commenting as new reports in the media suggest that the cost of living in Ireland is continuing to rocket out of control.

“The latest household budget survey suggests that the cost of childcare has continued to rise over the past five years. Parents in Dublin are forking out an additional €1700 a year for childcare, while outside of Dublin; the rise is still a wallet-busting €770.

“These rises are the same as paying an extra month’s mortgage every year. Salaries have not increased to the same extent, so people’s disposable income is taking the hit.

“Another survey from AA Ireland demonstrates that just keeping a home in Ireland is taking up more and more of people’s incomes. It now costs an average of €16,374 to keep an average household ticking over every year.

“Excessive motor and home insurance premium hikes, the crippling cost of mortgage interest, the cost of rent, childcare, increased costs of sending children to school and college, and day to day living costs are putting severe financial pressure on families.

“These demands on family income always result in the same response – requests for salary increases. If a family’s costs are going up, they need bigger salaries; it’s not rocket science.

“While salary increases are necessary to keep pace with inflation, it can put pressure on businesses.

“With rising salaries comes a rise in the cost of doing business. Prices for services and goods will need to increase, and that will result in a less competitive economy.

“We know that when we lose our competitiveness, we risk future job growth. Minister Humphreys cannot continue to claim that all is well in the Irish economy. Now is the time to address the flaws in our competitiveness, not when the economic cycle gets more difficult.

“The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation needs to take the lead on competitiveness, and not leave it up to the individual line ministries to address rising costs. This needs to happen before we price ourselves out of business,” concluded Kelleher.