A motion will be brought forward in the Dáil this evening demanding that people get an urgent break from spiralling home energy costs.
The motion, announced by Roscommon-Galway Sinn Féin TD Claire Kerrane, calls for urgent measures to demand that households affected by soaring home energy costs get much-needed help.
It 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.
Sinn Féin is also calling for the cancellation of the scheduled carbon tax increase in May, and 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.
The Galway TD said that energy costs are out of control and people need help now without delay, and accused the government of dragging their heels and being far too slow to act.
“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,” said Deputy Kerrane.
“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.”
Deputy Kerrane said that while measures announced by Government in recent weeks are welcome, they do nothing to address the spiralling cost of home heating.
Her party is again calling for 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,” she said.
“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.”