Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Cold snap may last for some time yet

The cold December snap is now extending into January. And it seems it will last for a little longer then expected. It is not without its consequences. Many roads are impassable and it seems grit is in short supply. Treacherous roads are causing travel chaos all over the country. People in some rural parts of Waterford are isolated and in parts are confined to their homes. Local authorities barely have the resources to grit major roads with secondary and rural roads left untreated. Why are we always so unprepared for such events?

Another consequence is the need to use greater fuel to heat our homes. This will be difficult for many low income families and those on social welfare. For many such families the entire winter budget may already be exhausted and this at a time when the latest social welfare cuts kick in. There is a compelling case for the introduction of an emergency payment to all fuel allowance recipients. Given the latest social welfare cuts it is the very least the Government can do. It is vital that every assistance is given to struggling families to ensure that homes are heated adequately and that people do not suffer illness or in extreme cases death as a result of the cold.

I would also urge all citizens to direct their thoughts, and actions where possible, at the least well off, including the homeless, those with inadequate heating, the elderly living alone, both in isolated rural Waterford and in our urban environments. They all need our assistance, however little we might have to give. Our time might be all that is required. Showing our concern in a real and practical way can bring a warm glow into the lives of others.

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