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Shocking statistics on "winter deaths" require immediate action: Mary Lou McDonald

11 November, 2004

Sinn Féin MEP Mary Lou McDonald has expressed her concern that up to 2,000 elderly people could die this winter due to the effects of bad weather and their homes not being adequately prepared for the winter season.

Ms McDonald was responding to a report by Age Action Ireland which revealed that 16,300 pensioner households cannot afford fuel for heating. Ms McDonald said that "it is a sad reflection on Irish society that up to 2,000 elderly people could die as a result of being in fuel poverty".

Speaking during a visit to community groups in Clondalkin Dublin, Ms McDonald said:

"The shocking statistics released by Age Action Ireland show that up to 2,000 elderly people could die this winter as a result of not being able to afford the money to heat their homes. This is a sad reflection on Irish society. Whilst the economy continues to benefit some and disenfranchise many, approximately 16,300 Irish pensioners will face a long difficult winter.

"Whilst the information booklet 'Energy for Older People' is a welcome and useful guide on preparations for winter, what is required is a multi agency approach to fuel poverty which combines assessing the occupants of a home and their specific needs along with the physical characteristics and location of the property.

"I am calling for funding to be made available and targeted towards those most in need. We must not waste this opportunity to positively impact upon the quality of life of one of the most vulnerable sections of society." ENDS

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