Dublin South West TD, Seán Crowe, has described the decision of the Minister for Social Welfare, Regina Doherty, to allow recipients who receive a fuel allowance a double payment, as necessary and welcome.

The Sinn Féin TD said:

“I warmly welcome Minister Doherty’s important and necessary announcement to provide an additional fuel payment, as called for by Sinn Féin and many others. We are concerned at the impact of fuel poverty on peoples’ lives, particularly the elderly.

“It makes practical sense, and it is absolutely necessary in order to save lives, that nobody is left suffering from cold or hypothermia in their homes due to the very real worry about increased fuel bills during this unusually cold weather.

“We also know from the past that this type of weather can bring out the best in people and communities. I would urge all those with vulnerable family members or neighbours to make sure that they are warm and not running short of essentials.

“There are also a number of homes where meters are used and older people in particular, may not be in a position to get to a shop to top up their electric meter. Family members and neighbours should be mindful of this and check on them where possible.”

Crowe continued:

“I am conscious that in other jurisdictions, like Britain, there is a Cold Weather Payment available between November and the end of March if temperatures fall to zero or below for seven consecutive days. The Irish Government  should seriously examine a similar pro-active proposal for here.”