Sinn Féin has called on the Government to immediately reduce energy costs by introducing price caps.

Tabling a Private Members' Motion, finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty recounted the "shock and worry" that people are struggling with as they are driven "into energy poverty".

He accused the Government of "abandoning" families to "extortionate" bills, and of defending "profiteering" by energy companies who he said are "fleecing people" by refusing to pass on lower energy prices.

Workers and families trying their best have "no more room to manoeuvre", Deputy Doherty said, as they "continue to pay sky high energy bills".

He warned of the "dire" consequences of the Government's "wrong" decision to end any "meaningful supports" for households.

It is time to cap energy prices, he said, noting that many other EU countries - including Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and Poland - have already done so.

Sinn Féin TD Mark Ward said that the more marginalised in society are being hit the hardest.

Travellers living in Oldcastle Park in his constituency of Dublin Mid-West have seen their energy costs triple, he said, and "are unable to afford food, and often wake up cold and in darkness".

Minister for Energy Eamon Ryan defended the Government's actions to date, saying that its approach "is the correct one" to get supports quickly to those who need it most.

He dismissed Sinn Féin's criticism of the Government's original opposition to windfall taxes, claiming that "the exact opposite" was the reality.

While the Russian President has weaponised energy prices, "Putin is losing the war", the minister insisted.

But he rejected the "notional price caps" which he said Sinn Féin is demanding.