Proposals to ban 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, writes Independent TD for Laois Offaly, Carol Nolan.
I am branding the plans as the final nail in the coffin of the Green Party’s relationship with reality.
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 have gone down like a lead balloon, and rightly so.
They 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?
Indeed, I and my colleagues in the Rural Independent Group know, from the detailed briefings we have been provided with by the likes of the Alliance for Zero Carbon Heating (TAZCH) and others, that the alternatives to gas and oil that Minister Ryan is pushing, such as deep retrofits, would most likely create about €36,000 of debt for every family who chose, or who was forced to go down that road.
We 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.
As I understand it, deep retrofits, because of the extensive nature of such works, would also require most families to source alternative accommodation while the work is undertaken.
Is this really the plan; for families to be saddled with tens of thousands in debt and to be out temporarily out of home while paying for the luxury of endorsing Minister Ryan’s delusions?
These extreme proposals need to be scrapped and placed immediately into a non-recyclable policy bin.
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