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20 May 2022

Claims €200 rebate is ‘drop in the ocean’ for many Longford households

Cost of living

The Government's response to the rise in the cost of living has come in for criticism locally

The Government’s well publicised €200 energy rebate is a “drop in the ocean” for scores of hard-pressed Longford households, it was claimed this week.

Father of two Ian Donoghue said the State backed pledge to provide €200 worth of credit for every home in the country would provide little respite for those already struggling to make ends meet in the face of rising inflation costs.

Mr Donoghue, who holds down two jobs in a bid to provide for his family, warned that unless further, more sustainable action is taken, households up and down the county could find themselves in potentially devastating financial distress come next summer.

“ESB, heating oil, everything has gone up,” he said.

“The one thing that hasn’t is wages and in fact because of the pandemic we (workers) are paying (taxes) that little bit more.

“They (government) are talking about this €200 (energy rebate) but that’s three weeks wages for us. It’s a drop in the ocean. It’s like asking someone to leave one light on and the rest of the house in darkness.”

The 38-year-old security worker also spoke of his own relentless efforts to try and secure a mortgage in the face of skyrocketing rental costs.

Mr Donoghue said because of the lack of an affordable housing scheme in Longford, he and his family neither qualify for social housing support or mortgage approval.

Their situation has been further exacerbated by two rent increases over the past four years while the family’s landlord has recently decided to sell the property thereby serving notice on the family to vacate their three bedroom home by June.

“It’s no criticism of them (landlord) as they are not a multi tenant landlord and are obviously looking to sell with prices so high at the minute but with the cost of rents at the minute we will be looking at having to pay double what we are paying at the minute,” he said.

Mr Donoghue’s plight looks set to renew the focus on fears Longford will miss out on being included in the Government’s multi billion euro Housing for All strategy.

Those anxieties, which the Leader revealed last September, centred on growing doubts over the county’s eligibility to be selected for a State funded affordable housing scheme.

Mr Donoghue said the predicament facing umpteen families like his own is now so grave, he is giving serious consideration to running as a candidate in the next local elections.

“I would yeah,” he said. “All I am looking for is a chance and with the situation especially in the town at the minute, if I can use my experience to help others in similar difficulty then I will.

“Bottom line is, we need an affordable housing scheme in Longford, desperately.”

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