Sinn Féin spokesperson on Climate, Communications and Transport, Darren O’Rourke TD, has announced the party will bring forward a motion in the Dáil tomorrow demanding that people get an urgent break from spiralling home energy costs.
The motion will be debated in the Dáil this evening.
O’Rourke said, “Sinn Féin are bringing forward this motion tomorrow calling for urgent measures to demand that households affected by soaring home energy costs get much-needed help. Energy costs are out of control and people need help now without delay. The government is dragging their heels and being far too slow to act.
“Our motion would help households who are under financial pressure due to this crisis. Costs have already risen by around €500 a year for an average household with over 30 price hikes by providers in the last year alone and these costs continue to rise.
“Last week, Bord Gáis Energy announced further increases which will take effect from next month. This has devastated families who are deeply anxious about staying on top of these spiralling bills.
“It is clear that we are in a serious crisis and the Government must act now to help workers and families. People are worried that they cannot afford to heat their homes, or afford to drive to work or college. This is unacceptable. People need to see action now.
“The measures announced by Government in recent weeks, while welcome, do nothing to address the spiralling cost of home heating.
“For example, their measure to extend Fuel Allowance will be provided only to those who already qualify for the payment, and the Exceptional Needs Allowance, which the Government have consistently pushed as an option for households yet, anyone working 30 hours or more per week cannot apply. Many working households continue to be unfairly locked out of access to support with eye-watering rises in energy costs.
“Sinn Féin’s Dáil motion sets out clear and deliverable ways in which families could get urgent support now.
“This includes the introduction of a ‘cost of living cash payment’ of €200 for every adult with an income less than €30,000 and €100 for every adult with an income between €30,000 and €60,000.
“As well as our continued call for the cancellation of the scheduled carbon tax increase in May, we are proposing a further reduction of excise duty on petrol and diesel and the removal of the excise duty on home heating oil for a temporary period.
“We are again calling on the Government to establish a Discretionary Fund to support households who are struggling with utility debt.
“We also need to see the Fuel Allowance extended to those in receipt of the Working Family Payment, which is a payment for provided to low-income working households.
“In addition, we are calling for the existing 30-hour eligibility rule to access the Exceptional Needs Payment to be relaxed on a temporary basis. As it stands, anyone working more than 30 hours per week is locked out of the scheme.
“It is crucial that the Government take further action on soaring home heating costs, and that they take it now. We need to see supports that reflect the scale of this crisis.
“I am urging all TDs across the Dáil to back Sinn Féin’s motion tomorrow evening to support workers and families with rising energy costs. We can ensure people get this much-needed help, if the government treats this crisis with the urgency it deserves.”