The government are drawing up plans to help cope with the fuel crisis should a worst-case scenario arise in the coming months, and each driver could be capped at 15 to 20 litres per visit to filling stations in order to avoid mass shortages.

Plans are also being put in place to ensure essential industries remain operating and healthcare settings remain heated.

Fuels for Ireland CEO Kevin McPartland told Pat Kenny’s show on Newstalk that the plans are a ‘fire drill’ in case we are faced with the worst-case scenario.

“I said to somebody the other day, I’ve been in hundreds of fire drills but I’ve never been in a burning building,” he said. “This is a drill. This work is to make sure we know what to do if the worst were to happen. We don’t expect it to.”

Mr McPartland said anyone not deemed an essential worker would only be able to purchase small amounts of fuel.

“It isn’t just the doctors and nurses and it is not just the official vehicles,” he said. “It is about saying that, if you’re responsible for managing, for example, the electricity network, you need to be able to get to and from your place of work and there would be dedicated service stations exclusively for that use.

“But if we were in a situation where there were heavy restrictions, normal motorists might be limited to 15 litres or 20 litres [of fuel].”

He said Ireland’s National Oil Reserves Agency has stock equating to approximately 85 days worth of oil – which reportedly includes large quantities of home-heating kerosene to be used in emergency situations.

A work from home order could also be reinstated by the government in the case of an emergency situation if you are considered a non-essential worker, he said.

“We wouldn’t keep doing what we are doing so the plan is how you prioritise, how you make sure that ambulances stay on the road, alongside fire vehicles and Garda vehicles, and how you get food to the supermarket.”