When is a Promise NOT a Promise

July 13, 2011





The announcement by Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton T.D. that the Government has reduced the fuel, phone, electricity and gas payments to Older People, Carers and those on long term Social Welfare is seen by many Older People as a breach of faith.

Just recently the Tánaiste promised there would be no reductions in Social Welfare and the Taoiseach promised there would be no Tax increases. At the stroke of a pen we have a Mini Budget which means there is €17million less for these vulnerable groups as we face into winter 2011. As of now they can look forward in 2012 to having €65million less.

Responding to the matter of under-usage in the Minister’s statement  Mairead Hayes said “With fixed incomes already reduced and fear of further cuts, Older People tell us they us they are afraid to use their units and try to keep them for the really bad weather. When one remembers the last two winters we have experienced we can readily understand why this is.”

This latest announcement will only add to the fear and dread about where and when the next cut will come. We urge all Older People to make their views know to their Public representatives.


 for further information contact:                                          

Mairead Hayes                                                                 Tel:   (01) 8561243

Chief Executive Officer                                             086 349 8848

Irish Senior Citizens Parliament                         13th July  2011   




  2. ESB-EI increases

    I can only comment with respect to those of us who use our allowance of 2400 units which will probably be 1800 units by the time you read this.
    As previously commented, the decrease to 300 units meant an extra €16.00 per billing period.
    The price increase of 14.8% puts this up to just over €18.00. Most of us have a weekly budget so our extra spend is about €2.25 per week minimum.
    Ms Burton & Co. may have been better liked by reducing the allowance to 200 for April to September and leaving October to March at 400.
    ESB use 5,300 units as a basis for their savings calculations so I will use 4,200 for a yearly comparison.
    Why? For no reason other than that I used just over 4,000 in the last 12 months and may better reflect usage for singles and couples.
    Cost per year at 16 cent/unit and 2400 unit allowance = €288.00
    Cost after 14.8% price increase and 1800 unit allowance = €441.00
    So, from €5.50 to €8.50 per week. Over 50%

  3. ….and then there’s the new household charge. That’s about another €2.00 per week and there’s almost another 5 months ’til the budget. I feel a shiver coming on.

    Defining a household may be problematic. e.g. a single person renting a room from a private landlord can get household benefit. Does that person pay the household charge or would the landlord be liable? If he was then wouldn’t that make the charge a property tax?

  4. Free electricity units allowance reduced by 25% which works out at almost €2.00 per week. (What do I give up to finance that?)
    ESB have no confirmed plans at present to increase cost but how long will that last?
    Minister Ms Burton said that 21% of recipients under-use their allowance; averaging 1468 units. This is a ‘smoke-screen’. She didn’t (as far as I know) give statistics relating to other providers or to gas users. Perhaps the 21% spend a fortune using gas for heating and/or cooking. 1468 units is about 4 units per day – most likely a microwave cooker being the main user!
    Instead of slashing the allowances the minister had an opportunity to restructure the system.

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