Inflation pressure 'unsustainable'
Rising inflation will put unsustainable pressure on working people and households, umbrella trade union group Congress has warned.
The cost of living has jumped by 3% in the past year, with mortgage interest rates and increases in petrol, diesel and home heating oil all combining to inflict deepening financial strain.
On top of that, health insurance is now 21% more expensive than 12 months ago.
Paul Sweeney, Congress economic advisor, said pressure from the rising cost of everyday goods and services will be compounded further this year by more expensive mortgages.
"With ongoing rises in oil and food prices, inflation is now taking strong hold in Ireland," he warned.
"In that context, today's interest rate rise by the European Central Bank is very unwelcome and is going to result in extra hardship for people all over the country. Working people are being squeezed on too many fronts.
"There is a limit to the burden of austerity that any society, or household, can tolerate."
Official inflation figures from the Central Statistics Office for March revealed the cost of living was rising at its fastest monthly rate since November 2008. The annual 3% inflation rate was last passed in March last year.
Increases in the cost of clothing and footwear at the end of spring sales also added to the latest hike.
One of the few sets of goods to see any reductions was the cost of alcohol as supermarkets and off licences cut the price of beer, wine and spirits.