Announced Fuel Allowance payment not enough to support families and workers – Claire Kerrane TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Social Protection, Claire Kerrane TD, has responded to this morning’s announcement that the Government will provide an additional €100 payment to Fuel Allowance recipients.
Minister Humphreys has indicated that the payment will be made this week.
Speaking today, Teachta Kerrane said:
“Any additional measure to support households is welcome at this time, but the announced payment will only provide relief to a very limited number of households.
“Many workers and families are seriously struggling to make ends meet, and they are excluded from receiving an additional payment for energy costs.
“Yet again there are no measures to support these households, despite soaring household energy costs affecting homes everywhere.
“That is why Sinn Féin called for the establishment of a Discretionary Fund to assist households, including those who are locked out of the Fuel Allowance, with utility debt.
“This call is reiterated by the Society of St Vincent de Paul who, like us, do not agree that the Exceptional Needs Payment (ENP) is enough.
“Minister Humphreys has pointed to the ENP for households who are struggling, but the payment is available in only some circumstances through local Community Welfare Officers.
“We have made this point to Minister Humphreys repeatedly that the ENP is not a catch-all solution for those who are struggling with energy costs and who are locked out of the Fuel Allowance.
“Just last week I dealt with a Family Carer who was refused financial assistance through the ENP to help with home heating oil, because she received a payment six months ago, in December 2021.
“Supports like the Exceptional Needs Payment need to be flexible. However, cases like this show exactly why we are not confident it is enough to support families and workers.
“The Government have also refused to provide support to households who rely on home heating oil, the cost of which has increased by €1000 in the last year and continues to rise.
“The majority of households in rural Ireland use home heating oil and effectively have been ignored as part of measures brought forward in relation to the cost of living crisis.
“Added to that, the Government have proceeded with the Carbon Tax increase earlier this month, which will further increase the cost of home heating oil for those households that rely on it.
“It is simply not good enough. As we have said, the Government cannot do everything to address the cost of living crisis, but they can absolutely do more."