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Ó Caoláin calls for special emergency payment of fuel allowance

5 January, 2010 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Sinn Féin Dáil leader and Health & Children spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has called for the introduction of a special emergency payment for recipients of Fuel Allowance to help them cope with the current spell of freezing weather and the remainder of the winter.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

“To assist the least well-off cope over these bitterly cold weeks I am calling on the Government to make a special emergency payment to all fuel allowance recipients.

“Many of the least well-off families and individuals will already have spent a large part of their small incomes in attempting to keep their homes heated. By now, in many cases, their entire winter budget for fuel will have been exhausted. Therefore they will need assistance to get over the current historically cold spell and to continue to heat their homes for the rest of the winter.

“I am urging the Minister for Social and Family Affairs to introduce a special payment as an emergency measure. Surveys have shown that almost 10% of households in this State experience fuel poverty. The most straightforward way to introduce such a payment would be to make it available to all current recipients of Fuel Allowance but provision should also be made for other households who are in fuel poverty.

“Given the unjust and unnecessary social welfare cuts in Budget 2010, the very least that the Government should now do is take exceptional measures to ensure that people in the least well off households do not suffer illness and perhaps death as a result of the cold.

“I would also urge all citizens to direct their thoughts, and actions where possible, at the least well off, including the homeless, those with inadequate heating, the elderly living alone, both in isolated rural Ireland and in our urban environments. They all need our assistance, however little we might have to give. Our time might be all that is required. Showing our concern in a real and practical way can bring a warm glow into the lives of others.” ENDS

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