Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Social Protection Willie O’Dea TD has welcomed the announcement that those in receipt of the Fuel Allowance will now be given the option to receive it in two lump sum payments.

Commenting O’Dea said, “I recently raised this possibility with the Minister by way of parliamentary question and I welcome the move by the Department to allow the option for the Fuel Allowance to be paid in two lump sums, as opposed to a weekly payment as it is currently. This initiative will help those who wish to buy fuel in bulk, thereby potentially securing discount offers.

“It is essential that the Government do all they can to address fuel poverty. According to Age Action, 7.5% of all pensioner households suffer fuel poverty and between 1,500 and 2,000 people die annually in Ireland from cold related illnesses, such as respiratory and cardiovascular illness, because they can’t afford to sufficiently heat their homes.

“This is a small but welcome step by the Department. However, it is clear that people continue to suffer from the harsh and punitive measures introduced by Fine Gael during the last Government. More needs to be done to address fuel poverty and poverty in general. For too many people there is still no recovery.”