Sir, Much has been said about the very harsh weather Ireland has experienced over the winter and well into the spring. It has kept many people from going outdoors and it has been a boom period for the fuel merchants and oil companies.
However, we hear nothing about the unfortunate people - young and old, some even living right among us - who die every year from not having sufficient home heating.
No one bothers to check in on people in today's modern Ireland and see the conditions that many of the poorest are trying to survive on. The talk at present is all about property tax, but that won't bother those who need heating to keep warm. The social protection fuel allowance is cut to €20 weekly by minister Joan Burton and her Labour and Fine Gael cronies in government in what was another attack on the marginalised.
On Wednesday of last week Mrs Burton made an annoucement that her department was extending the fuel allowance by one week, as if this was a big deal. However, €20 won't go far to provide heating in the arctic conditions we are enduring. She could have a bit more understanding of ordinary people who are living in such deep turmoil, with so much austerity and no meaningful employment. I ask any level headed person what would €20 do for anyone? Any child receiving their First Communion or Confirmation would think nothing of a €20 gift nowadays.
If Joan Burton or any member of the government had more common sense they wouldn't insult those intelligent people who, through no fault of their own, have to struggle to keep body and soul together. She should give at least an extra month's fuel allowance to the unfortunate long-term unemployed and those who have withdrawn from society through ill health and who have been looked upon as scroungers (God forgive those who cast out people in such a manner).
Those, and there have been so many in recent years, who have fallen on hard times have no voice in Dáil Éireann. They have worked hard for Ireland but after all their years of labour, many are deprived of receiving full benefit for not having made sufficent contributions.
They started by doing away with the double week Christmas bonus, that was a crying shame, I know many a poor woman who would buy her Christmas gifts for her grandchildren with that payment. One thing the extra euro brought to people at Christmas was happiness and the town was alive with an atmosphere unequalled. Give the ordinary man or woman an extra few euros and the economy will prosper.