Minister for Communications, Energy & Natural Resources Eamon Ryan has said he is concerned that there may be a perception that the Green Party is the party of 'taxation and hurt'.

He was reacting to reports that motorists who use commercial vehicles for private use must pay additional motor tax.

Mr Ryan said 'there is nothing new, there is no change, no additional tax from the Green Party or anyone else.'

Asked if he is concerned that the Green Party is seen as the party of 'tax and hurt', Minister Ryan said: 'I am concerned that that perception might be out there, but I don't see it as the reality.'

He added: 'I am very concerned and I regret, I suppose, that I was away in the August period when those figures [for the energy levy] came out.'

Minister Ryan said that he will meet with the Energy Regulator tomorrow and outline later in the week what is involved in the energy levy.

However, the proposal has been criticised by Sinn Féin.

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on the Environment and Local Government Martin Ferris said: 'One thing that has to be said about this Government is that they have demonstrated great ingenuity in inventing new ways to take money off people.

'There is absolutely no good reason that I can see for this proposed tax. Many small business people and indeed employees use commercial vehicles for purposes other than work.

'Indeed in many instances a commercial vehicle is the only means of transport that people have.'