“Ordinary working families are being priced out of measures to reduce their heating bills and carbon footprints,” said Fianna Fáil’s Spokesperson on Communications, Timmy Dooley.

Deputy Dooley was commenting after the Government announced a new grant of up to €3,500 towards the purchase and installation of heat pumps. Air to water, ground source, water source, exhaust air heat pumps can cost upwards of €8000 to install, and require very high levels of existing insulation in order to make them viable.

“It has been estimated that the cost alone of retrofitting a house with the required insulation could be in excess of €20,000.

“This new grant is all well and good, but too many families and homeowners simply do not have the means to fund these important improvements that will save them money in the long run.

“My concern is for the ordinary families who don’t have a spare five or six thousand euro that’s needed to pay for these types of works.

“Making our housing stock greener and more sustainable is the right thing to do. However, we need to be looking at measures that make the biggest impact.

“Fianna Fáil believes that all families should be allowed to benefit from government supports to go green.

“Low income families should continue to be able to access grants to let them avail of green technology initiatives while low-interest credit should be made available to families with higher incomes who wish to retrofit their homes. Repayments should be commensurate with the reduced cost of heating that families will enjoy from such housing improvements.

“Our proposal to establish a new Green Deal Agency would ensure a simple system for all households to access easy finance for the purpose of upgrading their homes.

“Minister Naughten needs to think about the bigger picture, and ensure that sections of society are not priced out of making the switch to green heating,” concluded Dooley.