Ireland is facing a shortage of emergency funds as it struggles to deal with the fallout from the recent earthquakes, the UK Government has warned.
It said that in recent days, a surge in the cost of fuel, as well as a new wave of cancellations due to the earthquakes, have caused it to start issuing emergency loans.
It was the first time in over a decade that Ireland had not been able to issue a total loan fund, the Financial Services Authority said.
The Government said it was also “monitoring the potential impact of the recent quakes on the economy”.
A total of €12.4bn of the €60bn that the Government said Ireland has pledged to the EU and the US for the emergency fund was set aside in the new €12bn Emergency Relief Fund (ERF), which has a maximum amount of €6bn.
But the Government has now said it has to stop making the loan unless it is used to pay for things it cannot currently pay for.
The ERF will be used for emergency needs, such as payments for medical costs.
The latest figures show that fuel costs are now higher than they have been in over two years, which has put pressure on the Government to get the ERF back into operation.
“The situation is worsening and the ERFs are having to be withdrawn,” said Simon O’Connell, chief executive of the Irish Chambers of Commerce.
He said that the government was having to make emergency payments of up to €1,500 a month.
In the case of emergency payments, the Government is paying for fuel and other supplies with the Emergency Relief fund.
It has said that this would be enough to pay its own bills and that there were no plans to take it out of circulation.
The UK Government also said it would not be able to pay the costs of emergency relief in the short term, but would allow the ERDF to be used to cover the cost in the future.
The Irish Government said that it had to make a decision quickly because the cost for paying back the ERFD was increasing by the day.
It had not yet decided whether to stop issuing the ERFS, and the Government’s deputy chief of staff, Paul Farrell, said that Ireland could not do that without the ERFI and that it was now a matter for the government.
“We need to get back on our feet quickly,” he said.