Fianna Fáil Senator Marc Mac Sharry has called on the Government to provide additional funding for the fuel allowance scheme. Senator Mac Sharry made the call following confirmation by Met Éireann that July was the coldest month for nearly half a century in many parts of Ireland.

“This summer has been very difficult on families, and in particular older people, due to the poor weather that we have had to date. Met Éireann have highlighted that July was poor month weather-wise, with some parts of the Country recording the coldest month since 1965 and its third coldest July since records began in 1950” said Senator Mac Sharry.

“The wet and cold weather has meant that households have been forced to use more fuel than normal in order to adequately heat their homes. This has put pressure on many household budgets, particularly for older people. In light of this I am calling on the Government to ensure that additional funding is allocated to the fuel allowance scheme.

“People who normally qualify for this payment on a seasonal basis have found themselves having to provide fuel to heat their homes in what has been a desperate summer. The fuel allowance payment should be made without delay to all recipients to take account of this fact.

“Many people in financial difficulty have had to spend money they had not budgeted for on fuel to keep their homes warm this summer. As a result of this they have to forgo other essential payments. The reality is that these people need to be looked after by the Government and an exception should be made to bring forward fuel allowance scheme payments without delay.

“The Government is talking about providing tax breaks to the wealthy in advance of the next budget. In light of this the least they can do is make sure that vulnerable people especially the elderly can continue to adequately heat their homes.”