Sinn Féin energy poverty report: ‘I’m terrified of all these carbon tax things I hear about’

A new report published by Sinn Féin lays bare the experiences of Irish people with energy poverty, with some respondents expressing feelings of “fear” over bills, along with others being “terrified” of carbon tax.

Party spokesperson on climate justice, Senator Lynn Boylan, has published a document outlining the real-life experiences of people affected by energy poverty. The report is entitled ‘Living in Energy Poverty’.

Before Christmas, Sinn Féin launched an online survey in order to learn about how households are impacted by energy poverty.

Also Read: Sinn Féin energy poverty report: Two-thirds find it difficult to afford fuel to heat homes

Almost half of respondents (47%) said they go without heat or electricity some of the time, because of the cost. One in eight (13%) said they always go without heating or electricity. Four in 10 people (42%) have cut expenditure elsewhere in their budget to afford energy.

One respondent of the survey said that they have “sometimes cut back on things like food and also Christmas presents to keep us warm”.

Another respondent said: “Our family home is in rural Ireland.

Fuel poverty has always been a reality and throughout the winter period we have had to choose between paying for fuel and other essential purchases such as food.

One person said “we either go cold or go hungry”, with another adding that they reduce their food shop bill by “buying less meat or finding cheaper alternatives” in order afford to heat their home.

Carbon tax

Concern is shown about carbon tax, with one respondent saying it is “not going to solve any climate issues”.

“There are a lot of people who live in fuel poverty and keep quiet about it because it’s embarrassing. It will just make the poor poorer.”

Another said: “Smokeless coal is so expensive, so I don’t light the fire until late”, while another respondent said: “I am terrified of all these carbon tax things I hear about.”

A number of respondents also said they would like to make their homes more energy efficient but that the cost is too high, with one adding: “I feel we, the poor, are being sacrificed on the altar of sustainability.

“It feels like to be an environmentalist you need to be middle class, when climate change affects the poor the most.”