Sinn Féin spokesperson on Social Protection, Claire Kerrane TD, has criticised the Government for showing no intent on tackling energy poverty despite growing numbers experiencing it and the energy crisis worsening.
The call comes in light of new energy poverty projections from the ESRI, which indicate that almost 70% of people could be plunged into energy poverty.
These projections were drawn up for the State’s energy poverty oversight group and represent modelling based on the worst case scenario resulting from the worsening cost of living crisis.
Speaking today, Teachta Kerrane said:
“These projections from the ESRI are very concerning and paint a stark scenario regarding rising energy poverty in the State.
“We know many households have been struggling with the rising cost of energy prices over the past year and as energy prices continue to rise, many are worried sick about the autumn and winter.
“These projections from the ESRI illustrate that the cost of living crisis is only worsening for many families and workers, and more households could be plunged into energy poverty over the coming months. “Sinn Féin have been calling for further measures to prevent higher levels of energy poverty becoming a reality for over a year now. Yet, despite the urgency of this issue, the government has so far failed to act.
“The fact that the latest Energy Poverty Strategy is out of date since 2019 and has not been updated shows an indifference to an issue which is getting worse. The failure of the Government to establish an Energy Poverty Advisory Group recommended as far back as 2016 is further evidence of this.
“The projections published today should be a wake-up call for the Government. They must get serious about addressing energy poverty in the State. An updated Energy Poverty Strategy with clear commitments and fully resourced needs to be published urgently.
“Government should support Sinn Féin’s legislation, the Energy Poverty Strategy Bill 2022 published last month and take the opportunity in the upcoming Budget to look at widening eligibility of the Fuel Allowance.
“The cost of living crisis is placing huge pressure on ordinary workers and families, who are struggling to keep on top of their bills. The government must recognise the urgency of this crisis and act quickly to ensure people get much-needed help without delay.”