July 26, 2022
Sinn Féin publish Energy Poverty Strategy Bill to help people hit by high energy costs – Darren O’Rourke TD, Claire Kerrane TD and Senator Lynn Boylan

Sinn Féin have today published the Energy Poverty Strategy Bill 2022 to ensure that the government takes urgent steps to help people hit by high energy costs.

The legislation would commit the government to establishing an Energy Poverty Advisory Group and delivering an Energy Poverty Strategy to ensure that people struggling with expensive electricity and heating bills get much-needed help to ensure they can afford these costs.

Speaking today as he launched the legislation, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Climate Action, Darren O’Rourke TD, said:

“Energy bills are far too high and are spiralling out of control. We are in the middle of a cost of living crisis and people are worried about how they will be able to afford their heating and electricity bills. The government must take urgent steps to help people who need a break from high energy costs.

“Despite the urgency of this issue, the government has failed to act. Shockingly, the last Energy Poverty Strategy lapsed in 2019, and has not been replaced, despite our repeated calls. There is a serious lack of data in this area – which means energy poverty cannot be properly identified or tackled. Our Bill would ensure the government introduces a strategy so that people can get appropriate support urgently. The government cannot bury their heads in the sand on this issue and pretend this crisis isn’t happening.

“The Bill would also ensure that the government establishes an Energy Poverty Advisory Group, which was recommended back in 2016, and that there are agreed definitions and measurements of energy poverty. This is essential for the introduction of targeted supports.

“The government’s continued inaction highlights a shocking disregard for people who face unaffordable energy bills and a lack of will to address it. This must stop. The time to take action to help people with high energy costs is now.”

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Social Protection, Claire Kerrane TD, said:

“Across the country, people are deeply anxious about paying their heating and electricity bills. Bills were sky high last year and many families struggle to keep on top of them. They are set to rise even higher this Autumn and Winter. Simply put, many people’s finances won’t stretch far enough.

“The government has to act and ensure it takes crucial steps to deliver much-needed support for people struggling with high energy costs. Our Bill would be an important first step in forcing the government to acknowledge and begin to address the problem.”

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Climate Justice, Senator Lynn Boylan, said:

“Sinn Féin’s legislation would ensure families hit by high energy costs could get the targeted support they need. The government has been kicking the can down the road on this issue for far too long and ordinary people are forced to pay the price.

“It is scandalous that the Energy Poverty Strategy was allowed to lapse in 2019, especially given the dire cost of living crisis which is hitting people across Ireland.

“The government must act now and ensure it delivers on this issue. Families will be worried sick about how they can cover the cost of their energy bills in the Autumn and Winter. The government must act now to ensure people get the support they need. 

“Sinn Féin in government would stand up for people hit by the cost of living crisis, to ensure they get a break from spiralling costs.” 

 Sinn Féin’s Energy Poverty Strategy Bill 2022 is available to view here

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