Fuel poverty

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Fuel poverty

Olwyn Enright (FG, Laois Offaly) again raised the issue of fuel poverty arising from the introduction of carbon taxation on 1st May (Dail Eireann, Debates, 29th June 2010, 751-3) and the Minister for Social Protection, Eamon O Cuiv explained to her the work of the inter-agency group which was drawing up an energy affordability strategy.  She told the Dail that she had no faith in the inter-agency group.  The first time its members attended a meeting of the Oireachtas committee on social and family affairs three or four years ago was probably the worst joint committee meeting she had ever attended.  All the members were horrified at the lack of information the delegates were able to provide.  The group had not been meeting for some years, but we had yet to see a report.  When would it be published?

The minister explained to her that she expected to receive its report over the summer period.  It would have to go to cabinet, after which a decision would be taken on how to assist those at risk of fuel poverty.  He envisaged a duel approach of cash assistance and helping people to reduce their energy requirements.  People living in rented accommodation were far more likely to be cold than those in owned accommodation.