Sinn Féin Climate Justice spokesperson Senator Boylan welcomed the government’s move to adopt the Sinn Féin proposal to withhold the energy credit from holiday homes and vacant homes.
These houses are being excluded based on their low electricity usage. Sinn Féin has twice tabled amendments in the Seanad in February and October last year and twice the Government rejected them.
Speaking today, Senator Boylan said:
“I am delighted to see that the government has embraced my proposal to exclude vacant homes and holiday homes from the electricity credit scheme.
“By excluding vacant and holiday homes, the government is ensuring that credit isn’t being lavished on people who need it least. In the process, they will save €40 million.
“The government continually dismissed my efforts to design a more targeted electricity credit scheme as unworkable but fortunately they have proven themselves wrong.
“While I appreciate the government is finally recognising the benefit of Sinn Féin’s policy adjustment, it is very disappointing that it took them so long to act. The Minister could have saved tens of millions last year if he had of taken on board our amendments to the legislation on all the previous occasions.
“While Eamon Ryan was busy cutting the bills of holiday-home owners, he could have been driving even more resources into alleviating energy poverty instead. Once again, the Greens show us their true colours.
“The policy idea is rooted in crucial data obtained from the Central Statistics Office’s release of Metred Electricity Consumption, which revealed a compelling case for excluding vacant properties.
“The CSO found that it was possible to identify vacant houses and holiday based on the low electricity usage. They demonstrate that around 10% of residential customers consumed less than 1,000 kilowatt hours in 2020, a stark contrast to the median consumption of 3,658 kilowatt hours. Our proposal was to exclude the houses that can be identified as low demand users.
“My door is always open if Eamon Ryan wants to discuss other Sinn Féin policies which would help ordinary workers and families.”