Dublin, 21st July 2017 ALONE, the charity that supports older people to age at home welcomes the announcement from Minister for Employment and Social Protection, Regina Doherty TD, that changes will be made to the method of payment of the winter fuel allowance.
This new move will grant recipients two lump sums of €292.50 during the year, replacing the weekly payment system. ALONE welcome this development, as we continue to see older people in Ireland face a great struggle to adequately heat their homes.
A 2013 study showed that 10% of people in Ireland struggled to heat their homes. The same study highlighted that over the previous twelve months, the number of people older than 65 who were unable to keep their homes warm, almost doubled from 5.0% to 9.8%.
CEO of ALONE, Sean Moynihan has said: “ALONE is pleased to hear this announcement from Minister Doherty and hope it can make a real difference in the lives of older people around the country. It is a harsh reality that anyone in Ireland might have to choose between paying to heat their home or pay for other essentials such as food, transport and clothing.”
Moynihan continued, “We believe this move to two lump sums will greatly assist older people in buying fuel and heating their home, something which had become an urgent issue for so many. We would also call on the Department to annually review the full Fuel Allowance payment to ensure that it is in line with fuel price increases.”
The Irish Institute of Public Health has found that pensioners are one of the highest risk groups for fuel poverty, something ALONE encounters frequently in its work.
2017 marks 40 years since ALONE was founded. Since then the charity has supported thousands of older people to age at home. ALONE works with those who have issues with loneliness and social isolation, lack of services, poor health, poverty, homelessness or housing. ALONE provides Support Coordination, Housing with Support, Befriending and Campaigning services to older people nationwide. ALONE’s services are quality approved and are delivered 365 days a year.
For further information, please contact
Kathryn Byrne, Limelight Communications 01 668 0600 or 085 233 6033
Maree Rigney, Limelight Communications 01 668 0600