09/09/2008

Age Activists Fuel Campaigners For Allowance Rise

A lobby group for the elderly has unveiled a billboard campaign calling for increases in the fuel allowance.

Age Action, said up to 2,000 older people in Ireland could die this winter as they cannot afford their home heating bills.

Ocean Advertising, and JCDecaux have provided advertising space free of charge for the campaign, which has been sparked by the rising fuel prices in recent months. Age Action said many older people may be forced to make the choice between food and fuel this winter.

The billboard campaign will be unveiled at Harold's Cross Road, Dublin 6, at the junction of Leinster Road.

Age Action have also issued a leaflet offering advice to older people about how to keep warm over the winter, but staying on the right side of energy efficient.

Some of the suggestions include keeping thermostats and heaters at lower settings, closing doors and windows, and using draft slips.

Age Action are offering the public a copy of the booklet and a chance to sign a petition at www.ageaction.ie.

A spokesman for Age Action said over 16,000 people experience fuel poverty in Ireland.

"Fuel poverty has a big impact on health and leads to unnecessary winter deaths.

It is estimated that between 1,500 and 2,000 excess winter deaths are due in a large part to poor housing standards," he said.

The spokesman added: "Older dwellings, especially those built between 1940 and 1970 (before better insulation standards were introduced) are more likely to be occupied by people experiencing fuel poverty."

(DW/JM)

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