Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Older People, Mary Butler has called on the Taoiseach to make available the €8.5 million needed to pay an additional week of the fuel allowance in the face of the predicted extreme cold snap.

Deputy Butler was commenting after the Taoiseach decided to use the additional week that was originally promised as part of Budget 2018 to fund an additional payment this week.

“It’s robbing Peter to pay Paul. Older people, and those at risk of fuel poverty, are no better off than they were before Budget 2018.

“I would hope that once this emergency is over, Minister Doherty can persuade the Minister for Finance to secure the additional €8.5 million in funding to again extend the winter fuel allowance to 27 weeks.

“If the Taoiseach can justify a €5 million spend on his own, and his Government’s, PR, he can surely find the resources necessary to keep our older people warm.

“This exceptional weather event has been flagged well in advance. It beggars belief that Minister Daly, the Minister for Older People, could go on such a solo run without discussing with his colleagues in Government.

“Surely the Government should have been proactive with regard to older people, and have had all their ducks in a row. Clearly that didn’t happen,” concluded Butler.