March 29, 2022
Claire Kerrane TD delivers personal stories exposing fuel costs crisis to Taoiseach

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Social Protection, Claire Kerrane TD, has urged the government to take action urgently to help people affected by out of control fuel costs.

Earlier today, Teachta Kerrane hand-delivered to the Taoiseach’s office the personal stories submitted to Sinn Féin’s cost of living survey. More than 10,000 people shared their experiences of spiralling fuel costs and the real life impact that the cost of living crisis is having on ordinary workers and families.

Speaking today, Teachta Kerrane said:

“Earlier today I hand-delivered to the Taoiseach’s office the personal stories that were submitted to Sinn Féin’s cost of living survey. More than 10,000 people took part and the stories they shared expose the urgency of the fuel costs crisis.

“I want to thank everyone who took the time to share their story. The government has insisted that they will not act on this crisis until October, but it’s clear that people can’t wait. The cost of living crisis is urgent and people need help now. This government continually acts too late and it isn’t good enough. 

“The shocking personal stories submitted to Sinn Féin’s survey and which I delivered to the Taoiseach’s office today include- 

1) “We have to drive to and from CHI Crumlin as our daughter is undergoing treatment for cancer. This rise in fuel costs has doubled our cost of travel. We can’t use public transport as her immune system is drastically compromised”

2) “I am a single mum of a sick 8 month old, sitting in the freezing cold unable to order oil due to the price of it”

3) “As a college student, some days I simply cannot afford to drive to college and so I am missing out on important lectures, which is obviously affecting my grades”

4) “I work full time. My salary is €30k and I’m really struggling. I’m going hungry tonight so that I can feed my child and heat our house. I cannot afford anything anymore”

 5) “I have had to choose between putting diesel in our car to get chemotherapy or topping up my gas meter to keep us all warm”

6) “I can’t afford to bring my kids to see my relatives and grandparents over the weekend. I’m holding onto the fuel in my car solely to commute to work”

7) “I am a full time mature nursing student. I have three children and commute daily to college, over two hour trip each way. I am having to miss days as I cannot afford to drive five days a week. How are we to go on?”

8) “I live in rural Ireland. It costs me 90 Euro a week to fill my car with diesel now, it used to cost 60 Euro. My children attend school a 20 minute drive away and there are no other public transport options where I live to bring and collect them. My oldest son has additional needs, so we spend 3 days a week driving to therapies also which we pay 100 Euro a week for, as again the HSE has not provided my son with any therapies and it would be detrimental to him if we didn’t intervene ourselves. We need to keep driving as it is essential for our family. If the fuel costs keep rising I will have to home school as my oldest son needs his therapies and we will have to make that choice. The stress of wondering what is going to happen is keeping me awake at night. It is all too much.”

9) “I am 20 years old. I drive an hour both ways to work every day. I sleep in my car Friday nights to make it easier to do overtime on a Saturday. I first chance I get to get out of this country I’ll take it and I’m not the only young person to feel this way” 

10) “As a pensioner being treated for cancer, I’m worried that the cold will affect the treatment”

11) “I’m a college student already crippled by the increase in rent. Now I can’t afford to heat my rented house, nor can I afford to go home at weekends because I’m driving an inefficient car I can’t afford to upgrade. When I graduate this year, it’ll be hard not to move abroad”

12) “I am choosing between heating my house, feeding my kids and putting fuel in my car to get to work. It’s not fair. My kids shouldn’t have to wear extra clothes in the house. My wife shouldn’t have to cry herself to sleep at night. It’s not fair.”

“These stories expose how out of touch the government is when they insist that they will take no further action on fuel and energy costs.

“People need help and they need it now. I accept that the government cannot do everything, but they can do more. They must cut the cost of energy and fuel. They must go further still, but that would be a good start.

“Sinn Féin are urging the government to engage with the EU commission to remove VAT on energy bills for an initial three months. We are also urging them to remove excise from home heating oil.
 
“A cost of living payment of €200 to households earning less than €30,000 and of €100 to households earning €30,000- €60,000 would also help families struggling to pay their bills in this cost of living crisis.  
  
“From a social protection perspective, we are again calling on the Government to establish a Discretionary Fund to support households who are struggling with utility debt, and we need to see the Fuel Allowance extended to those in receipt of the Working Family Payment.

“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.

“These are clear, common sense actions the government could take to give workers and families the break and the breathing room they need. People need help urgently now. They can’t keep waiting. This government must act now, not kick the can down the road until October.”

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