Wednesday, 24 November 2021
Ceisteanna ar Reachtaíocht a Gealladh - Questions on Promised Legislation
Claire Kerrane (Roscommon-Galway, Sinn Fein)
Today I am publishing the results of an online survey on the cost of living. Over 14,400 people responded and 6,000 of those shared their stories. This exposes a cost of living crisis that is not being addressed by the Government. There was a pensioner eating the bare minimum because rising bills have left him with little by the end of the week. There was an early years educator having to choose between buying food and filling the car with petrol. There was a nurse whose paltry 1% pay rise through pay restoration has been negated by the rise in the price of diesel. There is a lone parent struggling to pay rent whose ten-year-old child has asked Santa to help his mother. I could go on. Household energy bills were the biggest concern of 93% of respondents. The Taoiseach has this morning outlined what he cannot do but I am asking him do what he can do, that is, establish a discretionary fund to help people with utility debt. He should stop referring to the fuel allowance, which is extremely limited. What was announced in the recent budget in relation to eligibility for the allowance will only extend it to a possible 7,800 households, 4,400 of which will not see that until January. Will the Taoiseach look at a discretionary fund?