Newry & Armagh DUP Assemblyman William Irwin MLA has spoken of his concern on the inaccessibility of Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey’s £2million emergency fuel scheme.
Mr Irwin said he has had been contacted by many people inquiring if they would be entitled to the scheme however the application process was difficult to access.
Mr Irwin stated, “This is clearly showing the Minister for Communities that there is a real need out there and with significant energy price rises now affecting everyone, it is important that a scheme designed to assist with energy emergencies for those on low incomes, is firstly accessible and that the criteria isn’t overly restrictive. In my view it has failed before it has begun as it is neither accessible nor wide ranging enough to meet the need.”
He added, “Reports are prolific in regards to the spectre of further energy price rises across a number of resources and electricity seems to be hit hardest in this regard. Every family or individual in Northern Ireland needs electric therefore to have an assistance scheme as ineffective as this one only serves to further frustrate those who need financial assistance the most.”
He added, “Minister Hargey’s scheme is proving to be very problematic and at a time when those most in need of help simply want straightforward access to the application system they are met with delay and no guarantee that financial help will be forthcoming.”
He concluded, “The Minister needs to urgently address this issue and ensure that a system designed to help in an ‘emergency’ delivers help quickly to those who need it.”