Grandiose announcements and spin from the Government simply won’t cut it

Extra funding in the budget for retrofitting and energy schemes will be meaningless if the Government continues to miss its own completion targets, according to Social Democrats TD Jennifer Whitmore.

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

“There is a touch of Groundhog Day about the budget announcement to provide €513m in funding for energy transformation, including retrofitting.

“The Government has now set itself a target to deliver 37,000 energy upgrades, including 6,000 homes under the SEAI energy poverty scheme, but we’ve heard of similar plans before.

“Throwing money at notional retrofitting schemes is not enough – it must be matched by action by Minister Eamon Ryan to ensure that completion targets are met.

“Figures provided to me by the Minister showed that of the 27,000 homes targeted for energy upgrades in 2022, just 8,628 had been completed by the first six months of the year. Under the Warmer Homes Scheme, 1,453 homes had been completed as of the end of May.

“At this rate, the prospect of hitting the 27,000 figure by the end of the year is highly unlikely.

“When it comes to climate action, grandiose announcements and spin from the Government simply won’t cut it.

“More of the same will mean missing targets, resulting in growing numbers of households waiting longer for retrofitting programmes.

“More of the same means more people on low incomes being disadvantaged because they can’t afford to take out a loan to make their homes energy efficient.

“In our alternative budget, the Social Democrats proposed an ambitious solar panel scheme for 100,000 homes, with work carried out free for low-income households.

“Our measure would reduce energy bills by up to 40 percent and help future-proof the homes of those most at risk of heat poverty.

“Our plan would be more effective and far-reaching than the “rooftop revolution” that the Minister likes to talk about.”

September 28, 2022

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