Energy blackouts “could be a reality” across the European Union this winter, Irish EU commissioner Mairead McGuinness has said.
Europe has relied too heavily on Russian fossil fuels, particularly gas and oil, which was a “weakness of our system”, she said.
“We entered January not realising that by February we would be really alarmed about our lack of resilience when it comes to energy,” she said in Brussels.
Rationing of energy “could be a reality” in the EU, but it is something the European Commission was “trying to avoid”, Ms McGuinness said.
Prior to the invasion of Ukraine, nearly 40% of the European Union’s gas supply came from Russia.
As Russia cuts gas supplies to more European countries, some governments have appealed to citizens to conserve energy, and Germany is looking towards coal to fill the gap.
Meanwhile, David Barniville has been nominated by the Irish government as the next president of the High Court, the third most senior judicial appointment here.
Mr Justice Barniville is currently a judge of the Court of Appeal on foot of his appointment in August 2021, having previously served as a High Court judge from late 2017.
The Cabinet also approved plans to allow students earn more money in the summer months without it affecting their student grant.
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar and Further and Higher Education Minister
Simon Harris announced changes to the student grant scheme to allow students earn more over non-term time periods.
The Government on Tuesday approved the minister’s request to increase the holiday earnings income disregard from €4,500 to €6,552. This will mean a student can earn €2,000 more during their academic break and not lose eligibility for the grant in 2023.
Mr Harris said the move was “something that the students' unions have been looking for and will help local businesses as well as ease the cost of living burden on students".
“It’s just one of a number of measures we've been trying to take to reform and improve student grants in the lifetime of this Government," he added.
Mr Harris said his officials were working with the Department of Housing as concerns were already being voiced that there will not be enough student accommodation come September.
“What we need to try and do is come up with a model where we can provide enough on-campus student accommodation over time so that actually students who are currently competing with maybe a family, a couple of children, to rent a three-bed house and can actually be freed up to go live in student.
“There are over 600 additional college accommodation beds coming on stream for September. There's hundreds more actually planned as we go through January and into March. I met with all of the universities and colleges, their chairs and the presidents or the representatives last week, and we made it very clear to them that any other helpful solutions that they have for this September will be supported by Government."