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Colreavy calls on government to tackle fuel poverty

2 March, 2015 - by Michael Colreavy TD

Michael Colreavy Sinn Féin TD and Spokesperson on Communications, Energy and Natural Resources has made a submission on energy affordability and fuel poverty.

Focusing on the need for government to protect those most at risk of fuel poverty, Deputy Colreavy said:

“Fuel poverty is in many respects a matter of distributive injustice as it is the poorest in society who are often those who suffer greatest from the lack of adequate heat and warmth in their homes.”

“An EU wide recognition of fuel poverty is essential in tackling the issue due to the fact that wider energy issues are being addressed at a European level. Member states have signed legally binding agreements to increase the amount of energy from renewable sources that they consume.”

“Member states are also obliged to reduce their CO2 emission output. It is essential that fuel poverty is not forgotten during European discussions on energy.”

“There are also strong associations between inadequately heated homes and increased rates of morbidity; higher incidences of various cardiovascular and respiratory diseases have been associated with chronic cold exposure from within the home through living in fuel-poor conditions.”

“Retrofitting of homes is an obvious means of tackling fuel poverty.”

“Fuel poor households are concentrated in the worst buildings in terms of thermal insulation.”

“Rural houses in particular suffer greatly from poor insulation and rural households are at a higher risk of being fuel poor. A higher proportion of fuel poor households live in non-cavity houses. Retrofitting not only saves on carbon emissions, there are also many indirect savings to be made.”

“These include the amount spent by the HSE each annum on dealing with illnesses caused by fuel poverty. Therefore, it is essential that supports such as the National Fuel Scheme and Household Benefits are protected by government into the future.” 

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