Government can only offer vague timelines on when low-cost loan scheme for households will be available 

Ongoing delays in the rollout of a low interest loan scheme for retrofitting will make Ireland’s carbon reduction targets even more difficult to achieve, according to Social Democrats TD Jennifer Whitmore.

Deputy Whitmore, who is the party’s spokesperson on Climate and Biodiversity, said:

“A low interest loan guarantee scheme – designed to help households make up the difference between the cost of retrofitting works and SEAI grants – was a key feature of the Government’s Climate Action Plan when it was announced in 2021. More than two years later, it is still not up and running and we still don’t know when it will be open for applications.

“This scheme, which will provide low-cost loans of up to €50,000 per household, was due to be in place by last summer. Environment Minister Eamon Ryan told me on two separate occasions that it would be launched in the third or fourth quarter of 2022, but this did not happen.

“According to reports, there has been extensive due diligence between the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Irish banking and credit union sector, and that “significant progress” has been made in identifying lenders.

“Yet, all Government can say is that the scheme will be launched “in the coming months”. Such a vague timeline is utterly unacceptable.

“The cost of retrofitting is completely out of reach for most families and it is simply not good enough that this scheme is not yet finalised. Even when the loans are available, retrofitting will remain pie in the sky for those homeowners already struggling to pay their mortgages.

“So far, the Government’s retrofitting ambition, which aims to see 500,000 homes upgraded to a B2 energy rating by 2030, is looking increasingly unattainable.”

January 30, 2023

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