The Irish Government has shown "little urgency" when it comes to supporting households: that's according to one Kildare TD.
Sinn Féin (SF) member Patricia Ryan, who is also the party's spokesperson for Older People, has warned that rising inflation at record levels is having a major impact on older workers and pensioners.
Commenting on the data, the Kildare-South representative said: "Rising inflation at record levels is having a major impact on our older people."
"This was reflected in the Cost of Living survey results that we published in November.
She explained: "Over 14,500 people responded to the survey with the majority of them (55 per cent) working full time, while 7 per cent were pensioners, and many were struggling to cover basic essentials.
"Many households have also seen their income drop due to Covid-19 while outgoings remained the same: this is putting huge pressure on people’s finances.
"We have seen little urgency from the Government to support households," she added.
Ryan also said that SF had brought forward a Dáil Motion last February, almost a year ago, seeking action on household utility debt, but claimed that it took the Government until December last to take action on the energy costs crisis: "In that time the situation has spiralled out of control for households – there were over 35 price hikes from energy providers last year alone.
"(The) Govt have announced a payment of €100 to households to assist with electricity costs.
"However, we have no timeframe for when this will actually be introduced; households needed the support at the start of this Winter."
She further criticised the Fuel Allowance, calling it "extremely limited."
"The Department of Social Protection estimate their changes to eligibility will see an additional 7,000 households benefit from the Fuel Allowance... we need to see greater action from Govt on the cost of living crisis."
The Ballybrittas native added that her party published a range of proposals on how this development could be carried out last November: "This included banning rent increases for 3 years, the introduction of the Living Wage, a discretionary fund to assist those struggling with energy costs, reducing the cost of education, including childcare, and reducing the cost of insurance.
"These are the kind of measures we need to see action on as inflation hits record levels and workers and families pick up the tab."
She concluded: "Govt inaction is not good enough: it’s time to deliver the change that ordinary workers and families need to get a break from spiralling costs."
Last week, Patricia Ryan TD joined a number of Kildare politicians calling for cheaper antigen tests, in addition to accusing the govt of "penny pinching" when it came to the tests.
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