Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Brady calls for an emergency extension to the fuel allowance payment

Wicklow Sinn Fein County Councillor John Brady has called for an
emergency extension to the fuel allowance payment for the elderly and
those in receipt of social welfare payments. Brady wants the
government to reverse the cut of 6 weeks to the payment which was
introduced in Budget 2012.

Brady stated “The fuel allowance payment to the elderly and those on
social welfare is an essential payment of €20 a week to help cover the
cost of heating the family home. The Fuel Allowance season was reduced
by 6 weeks in Budget 2012 from 32 weeks to 26 weeks for all
recipients; it’s now paid for 6 months from mid-October to mid-April.
The last payment is due in two weeks; however there is no end in sight
to the cold weather”

Brady continued “The reduction of 6 weeks for the payment coupled with
higher fuel prices and the coldest March in 50 years has left
vulnerable people struggling to heat their homes.”

Brady went on “It has been estimated that 3,000 excess winter deaths
of people aged over 65 were recorded in Ireland between 2005 and 2009,
over 400 were directly linked to the temperature inside their homes. A
survey released in December found that more than half of older people
in Ireland go without food or clothing in order to meet the costs of
heating their homes. Almost one in ten older people surveyed said they
use their ovens to provide extra heat during cold snaps.”

Cllr Brady concluded “I am appealing to the Minister for Social
Protection Joan Burton to provide an emergency extension to the fuel
allowance. I am also calling on Wicklow Labour TD Anne Ferris to come
out of her self imposed exile and take a stand on this issue. Ferris
had been very vocal on this issue in the past and very critical of the
previous government. However there has been nothing from her in
relation to the cut of 6 weeks to fuel allowance that her government
imposed, she can now make amends for that by demanding an emergency
payment to the most vulnerable.”

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