Pensioners freeze as Shell announces €6 billion in profits
Sinn Féin Social Affairs spokesperson Seán Crowe TD has linked the rising profits for Shell Oil with the rising numbers of pensioners suffering fuel poverty. 'In these harsh months, fuel poverty continues to affect approximately 16,300 pensioner households, with up to 3,000 premature deaths per year with fuel poverty as a major contributing factor', he said.
The Dublin South-West TD said: "The extent of fuel poverty, which is the inability to afford adequate warmth in the home, and its harmful effects, particularly on elderly people, should be taken in the context of this Government giving away billions of euros worth of gas to Shell and their partners for a song.
"Those on low incomes, vulnerable to experiencing fuel poverty, have been worst hit by recent hikes in electricity and gas and cold weather. In my own constituency, and no doubt elsewhere, there is still snow on the ground and this cold snap may not be over.
"While the people's national resources have been handed away by Fianna Fáil in a dubious deal, thousands of low income households have to bear the brunt of exorbitant hikes in heating their homes. Some elderly people are even reluctant to turn on the heating as they cannot afford the bills.
"In our pre-budget submission Sinn Féin proposed to provide those on social welfare payments, and families eligible for Family Income Supplement, with either a weekly fuel allowance payment of €25, or the equivalent in an allowance for units of electricity and gas, and extend the eligibility period.
"Fuel poverty could be eliminated if our Government ensured our valuable natural resources were utilised for the benefit of the people in Ireland. While the governments of Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador are now ensuring that their national resources are being used for the benefit of their people, the Irish Government continues to put the interests of multinationals, such as Shell, before those who are literally shivering in their homes."