John Brady TD calls on Minister Varadkar to increase fuel allowance in Budget
Sinn Féin spokesperson for Social Protection John Brady TD has responded to the Minister Varadkar's announcement of the start of the Winter Fuel Scheme.
Teachta Brady said:
“Thousands of people rely on the Fuel Allowance year on year to ensure that they stay warm in their homes over the winter months. We know that last year 170,000 older people availed of this payment.
“While Minister Varadkar announces its commencement today, I want to take this opportunity to call on him to increase the fuel allowance in the upcoming Budget.
“The duration of the fuel allowance was cut from 32 weeks to 26 by Fine Gael and Labour in Budget 2012. This reduction was a regressive step that hit the most vulnerable hardest. It was one of many subsequent measures aimed at the most vulnerable especially, the elderly.
“I have heard many stories of the impact the cut in fuel allowance has had on older people. One lady told me how she sat in the library all day just to stay warm, another travels by train to keep warm. The real life stories are endless.
“The fact that 28% of homes in Ireland are experiencing fuel poverty is reason enough for this increase. We simply cannot allow people to be cold in their homes this Winter.
“Today, I launched Sinn Féin’s Budget measures for older people which along with a wide range of measures include a three week extension to the fuel allowance as well as the extension of the Warmer Homes Scheme. I call on the Government to implement these measure in Budget 2017.”