Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Michael Moynihan TD has described as entirely short sighted and counter-productive the government’s approach to encouraging people to improve the energy efficiency of their homes.
New figures supplied to Fianna Fáil indicate that fewer than 10,000 households availed of grants under the Better Homes Scheme administered by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland in 2014.
This is a sharp reduction from 2012 when 26,426 households participated in the scheme. 110,000 people had taken part in the scheme in the first 3 years of its availability. The collapse in the number of households benefiting from the grant scheme comes after two separate rounds of cuts to the grants paid for activities such as wall insulation and upgrade of boilers.
Deputy Moynihan commented, “Encouraging home insulation is effective both as a means of reducing energy bills and Ireland’s dependence on imported fossil fuels. It is also a means of supporting employment. In fact Ireland was developing a strong domestic industry with export potential before the government effectively pulled the rug from under the sector by slashing the available grants. “Given the collapse in people availing of the grants, I have no doubt there has been a loss of jobs within the sector. It will also make it more difficult for Ireland to meet our retrofit and energy reduction target.
“This has been a badly thought out measure. It is very much in the interests of the state to encourage as wide a take up of home insulation as possible. The Minister should revisit the way in which the grant scheme is structured with an aim to making it more attractive” said Deputy Moynihan.