Doherty accuses Taoiseach of 'false promises' over energy disconnections pledge

Doherty Accuses Taoiseach Of 'False Promises' Over Energy Disconnections Pledge
Sinn Féin has accused Taoiseach Micheal Martin of “false promises” over his commitments on energy disconnections this winter.
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By Michelle Devane, PA

Sinn Féin has accused Taoiseach Micheal Martin of “false promises” over his commitments on energy disconnections this winter.

Finance spokesman Pearse Doherty also criticised the Government for being “painfully out of touch” over the difficulties faced by people across the country.


Mr Doherty made the remarks as he reiterated the party’s call for a ban on energy disconnections this winter.

The Taoiseach said earlier this month that the Government will not allow people on pay-as-you-go meters to be cut off over the winter.

The Fianna Fáil leader said the Government is engaging with suppliers on the issue and insisted people who find themselves in difficulty will be helped by the social welfare system.



Mr Doherty told the Dáil on Thursday that more than 700 households had their electricity supply cut off in the first half of this year, and 300 households had their gas disconnected.

“As the weather turns, the fear of disconnection is very real and very present,” he said.

“Two weeks ago the Taoiseach gave a commitment. He said nobody would be disconnected this winter, including households using pre-paid meters.

“These were welcome words – but they were only words, with no action to deliver on them.


“Instead of taking responsibility to protect households from disconnection, you tell them to go to their local social welfare officer.”

Mr Doherty said the Government needs to introduce a disconnections ban immediately to ensure that all households, including those using pre-paid meters, are protected from being cut off over the winter.

“So, Minister, can I ask you some simple questions?” he said.

“Does this Government have any intention whatsoever to give actions to the commitment that the Taoiseach gave that nobody would be disconnected this winter including those on prepaid meters? Or was that just a false promise?”


Minister for the Environment Eamon Ryan defended the Government’s approach to the energy crisis, saying it is committed to helping people with their energy bills this winter.

The Green Party leader told the Dáil during Leaders’ Questions that it would be great if there were simple solutions to the issue, but “that’s not the real world”.

“What’s actually working is the whole range of different measures which Government are delivering on – increasing social welfare protection, increases in energy payments to households,” he said.

Mr Ryan added that the Government’s energy poverty plan will be published in the coming weeks “to build on what works”.

He said extending credit to homes using pre-paid meters is not the right solution as it will put families further into debt, and that the right approach is cash payments.

“I believe the right approach in tackling poverty, and tackling energy poverty at this particular time, is providing cash payments,” he said.

“That is the best way to help people through, and a whole range of other measures.”

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