Healy Accuses Taoiseach-Your Cuts to Fuel Allowances are causing extra premature eaths in winter

During his Question to the Taoiseach to-Day Seamus Healy TD for the Technical Group, accuse the government of causing extra additional winter deaths by cutting fuel allowances and free heating units

Before your Government reduced the heating period by 6 weeks Research, publicly funded by  Centre for Ageing Research and Development in Ireland (CARDI)  and directed by Professor Goodman at DIT had shown “Fuel Poverty, Older People and Cold Weather: An all-island analysis”, (at http://www.publichealth.ie)” the excess winter death rate on the island of Ireland for the winter of 2006/7 was 1,281evenly distributed throughout the island . Of these, 1,216 were aged over-65. The majority died of cardiovascular and respiratory illness – cold-related conditions. The fuel allowance at that time was only fractionally less than that) available in 2011 and fuel prices are now much higher.

The research shows that the excess of winter death rates over summer rates in Ireland is among the highest in Europe –greater than in most Scandinavian countries where winters are far colder than in Ireland.

I appeal to you  to show compassion and humanity and restore all heating allowances!

 

He continued:

 

 

 

 

Austerity Policies started by Fianna Fáil and continued by Fianna Gail and Labour despite specific commitments to stop Austerity during the course of the last general election, are hitting individuals and families on low and fixed incomes very hard.

 

  • ·         Fuel poverty is having a particularly devastating effect on the elderly, the sick and the poor, fixed incomes
  • ·         Survey on income and living conditions by CSO February 2013 show that a quarter of the population experienced 2 or more types of enforced deprivation in 2011 (your first year in office) up on 2010
  • ·         Fuel poverty has increased since your government took office
  • ·         You have allowed savage increases on Electricity, Gas, Oil

Electricity – 2011 – +14.8%                      Gas – 2011 – +22%

2012 – +5.9%                                2012 – 8.5%

 

Oil – €1,000 for a fill of oil, up 18% in2012

 

  • ·         Indirect attack on Living Standards condoned by your Government
  • ·         But your Government has deliberately increased Fuel Poverty direct cuts,

These include:

 

Budget 2011- Reduced Free Electricity Units 2,400 – 1,800

Budget 2012 – Cut the duration of Free Fuel from 32 weeks to 26 weeks

Budget 2013 – Again cut the Free Electricity package

_ Carbon tax on solid fuel (+2014)

  • ·               Result     Result – The Saint Vincent De Paul Society

Ø  Pay €6 million a year helping families to heat their homes and keeping lights on

Ø  Assistance with fuel and heating costs, is one of the most common requests for help from the Society

People are caught in a pincer movement of higher prices increase taxes and reduce benefits an allowances

 

 

 

 

  • ·         Result – Age Action (National Charity)

Ø  Choices between heating their homes and buying food

Ø  Go to bed as early as 7pm to stay warm

Ø  Turn off the heating and go to warm shopping centres where they sit for hours

Ø  Some Pensioners can no longer afford to keep a family pet

 

 

 

  • ·         Your Austerity Policies are damaging the very fabric of society

Ø  This is a shocking situation. The most vulnerable are baring the burden of Austerity

Ø  Will your Government now abandon your cruel approach to the wellbeing and indeed the very lives of the poor, the old and the sick

Ø  Will you show some compassion

Ø  Will you at least restore the fuel allowances and free heating units to the value and duration which were in place when you came to office

Ø  Will you reverse the cuts

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