An increasing number of people are concerned about the state of the gas market and the future of the sector.
The latest figures show gas prices have risen in a major way for the first time in more than a decade and the number of households who say they are reliant on gas has soared.
In the last month, the Irish Government has been forced to impose new measures to stem the growing crisis.
The price of gas has increased by more than 3 per cent since the end of October, the latest official data shows.
It is also rising at a time when Ireland’s population is ageing and the economy is contracting.
The government is considering a plan to cap the price of natural gas.
Gas companies have argued the measures will encourage more people to invest in the sector and lower the price.
But critics have warned the measures would do little to reverse the downward trend in gas prices and that the measures could actually increase the market pressure for gas suppliers to increase prices.
On Thursday, the Government confirmed it is considering proposals to cap gas prices.
A senior official at the Department of Energy and Climate Change said the Government would consider proposals to increase the cap by an average of 5 per cent per year for 10 years.
However, he said the final decision on the cap would be taken in 2020-21.
The Government’s proposals will include a cap on how much gas can be pumped at any one time and would be enforced by the State.
The State will also be able to take action against gas suppliers who fail to meet the cap.
It is expected that the proposal to cap natural gas prices by an amount of 5-6 per cent a year will not be approved by the Government.
The decision will be taken by the independent regulator, the Independent Regulatory Commission for Ireland (IRFI).
It is unclear whether the government will accept proposals to extend the cap on gas prices to the next two years.
Irish Government Minister Frances Fitzgerald said on Thursday the Government is “very much open to working with the industry to reduce the cost of natural gases to consumers”.
She said the measures to reduce gas prices would be implemented to protect consumers.
“It’s not only for consumers who are in the position where they have to pay more for gas,” she said.
On Thursday afternoon, the Energy and Resources Minister, Eamon Gilmore, said that a review was under way into how the Government should respond to the rise in gas costs.
He said he was considering options to cut back on natural gas supply and that he was looking at ways to “build more resilient infrastructure”.
However, the Minister said that the Government will not consider new measures until after the review is completed.