Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan has said that people will not be deprived of the basic comforts of heat and warmth this winter.

However, Mr Ryan rejected calls for a cap on electricity prices, saying it was not the right approach.

The rising cost of energy has been the dominant, urgent issue in the Dáil this morning with the Government and Opposition parties taking different approaches to addressing it.

Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty told the house that people are afraid because they do not know what is coming down the road.

Electricity prices must be cut back to pre-crisis levels and they must be kept at that rate until the end of February to give certainty to homes, he said.

Responding, Minister Ryan said Government would do everything to protect people but he disagreed with the Sinn Féin call.

He described it as "Tory" policy because it would really benefit the better-off.

Meanwhile, speaking at the Ploughing Championships today, Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald defended her party's proposal for energy price caps.

She said they are not "contracts for difference" as the Tánaiste said earlier.

Ms McDonald said Sinn Féin would like to see the cap in place until the end of February and "it is a temporary and emergency measure but a necessary and sensible one".

Earlier, Social Democrats Co-Leader Catherine Murphy told the Dáil that people are being clever in trying to reduce energy consumption, but standing charges are still rocketing even if they stayed in the dark.

Some customers are paying up to €900 a year in standing charges and that is gouging, she said.

Mr Ryan said people have a guarantee of the basic comfort this winter, which will be achieved through a moratorium on disconnections and a lower electricity rate for those on the financial hardship register.

Govt boiler plan 'huge mistake' - Healy-Rae

An Independent TD told the Dáil that a Government plan to ban the installation of gas and oil boilers is "a huge mistake", which is already damaging rural Ireland.

Michael Healy-Rae said it was an ill-informed proposal which would replace Irish jobs.

The Government is working on an energy plan, which is expected to ban the installation of fossil fuel boilers in new homes from next year and existing homes possibly from 2025.

The Kerry TD said many people could not afford to retrofit their homes, even with grants, adding that heat pumps were not a valid option for most.

Minister Eamon Ryan defended the plan, saying it was necessary to move away from fossil fuels to stop the planet burning.

He said it also had the advantage of switching the country to local fuel, rather than imported fuel.

Additional reporting: Joe Mag Raollaigh