As Irish inflation approaches 5.5 percent, three times the European average, the Irish government has launched a crackdown. Irish prime minister Bertie Ahern has ordered government ministers to inform bodies under their supervision to postpone increases.
Banks and building societies have been targeted in the effort to control price increases. Finance Minister Charlie McCreevy has called on financial institutions to freeze professional fees for the next six months. This follows Health Minister Michael Martin’s refusal to allow the national health insurance company, VHI, to increase its subscriptions by nine percent.
The country’s politicians may suffer as well. Their application for a 28 percent pay raise may now have to be put on hold during the government’s anti-inflation crusade.
The weak euro, high oil prices, and a massive increase in tobacco prices imposed by the government to curb smoking are blamed for the high inflation rates. ♦