Wednesday, 5 October 2005
Social Welfare Benefits.
Mary Upton (Dublin South Central, Labour)
I thank the Ceann Comhairle for the opportunity to raise this matter on the Adjournment. Earlier in the summer I began to receive telephone calls from a number of old age pensioners in local authority senior citizens complexes in my constituency. To say they were in a state of panic would be an understatement. One by one they had received notice that their fuel allowance was to be removed. The paltry sum of €12.90 per week for 29 weeks of the year which they had come to enjoy and which gave them a little comfort over the winter months was to be removed from them. This was totally unexpected and out of the blue. It would appear they are being picked off one by one — people who collectively have no voice because they are not able to organise themselves together to have a voice on this matter.
Senior citizens complexes in my constituency include Fr. Kitt Court, Rockmead and Lissadell. I have had queries from each of the complexes on the removal of this fuel allowance. It is about the meanest and sneakiest cut in social welfare that I have encountered. It is worse than those relating to the savage 16 last year. The amount of money involved is minuscule against the background of the debate we had last night and tonight. I appeal to the Minister for Social and Family Affairs to reverse this decision. I have written to him specifically regarding a number of cases but I have no doubt many more people over the coming weeks will also find that they are in the net and that their little fuel allowance is to be removed from them. I appeal to the Minister of State to reverse this miserable decision and to return to them the fuel allowance for that part of the year when they so badly need that extra money.