Independent TD for Laois-Offaly Carol Nolan has said that “extreme proposals” to ban oil and gas boilers need to be scrapped and put into a “non-recyclable policy bin”.
The decision by Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan to press ahead with a proposed ban would place families in a spiral of debt, Deputy Nolan said.
It is understood that plans are currently being finalised by government, and the ban will apply to newly built houses from next year and to replacement installations in existing homes possibly as soon as 2025.
“A ban on the use and future installation of oil and gas boilers in domestic homes would create an express track to fuel poverty for thousands of Irish families who could not afford heating alternatives,” Nolan said.
“These proposals have gone down like a lead balloon, and rightly so,” according to the deputy who described them as “the final nail in the coffin of the Green Party’s relationship with reality”.
The alternatives to gas and oil such as deep retrofits would most likely create about €36,000 of debt for every family, Deputy Nolan said based on detailed briefings by the Alliance for Zero Carbon Heating (TAZCH) and others.
“We [Deputy Nolan and the Rural Independent Group] know this because Minister Ryan confirmed to the Dáil that the average cost of the deep retrofit, which is necessary to a make a home ‘heat-pump ready’, is €56,000, while the average grant for these projects is below €20,000,” she explained.
Deputy Nolan added that due to their extensive nature, deep retrofits would also require most families to source alternative accommodation while the work is undertaken.
“Plans to ban the use of such boilers would force families into unsustainable levels of debt at a time when soaring energy costs and cost-of-living expenses are likely to dominate household concerns for several years.
“These proposals represent a level of policy detachment and bad timing that is almost incomprehensible. I mean, what will the minister say to the 8,000 homes that Gas Networks Ireland connected gas boilers in last year?” Deputy Nolan said.