Over 20 Leading Civil Society Organisations Jointly Demand Improved Government Plan to Permanently End Energy Poverty

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Over 20 Leading Civil Society Organisations Jointly Demand Improved Government Plan to Permanently End Energy Poverty 

Today, as the Government assembles stakeholders in the Convention Centre to update on the development of the latest Energy Poverty Action Plan, 21 leading civil society organisations and groups[1] have published their joint set of recommendations[2] to permanently tackle cold homes and high energy bills. 

These organisations representing the diverse interests of the environment, older people, disabled people, Travellers, tenants, and people on low-incomes have jointly called for significant improvements to be made to the current action plan. They have highlighted that the plan must set out measurable, time-bound targets to permanently eradicate energy poverty with a clear pathway to address the root causes that underpin it - low incomes, poor quality housing, and high energy costs.

The organisations have collectively made a range of demands for the Government’s Energy Poverty Action Plan, including:

  • By 2026, everyone in Ireland should have access to the basic energy they need, regardless of income, home ownership status, age, disability or health status, location, or type of housing.

  • The new plan must align with the government’s commitment to cut emissions by 51% by 2030, and must prioritise at-risk groups for energy efficiency and renewable heating solutions, making sure no one is left behind in the transition off fossil fuels.

  • Focus on long-term solutions to permanently eradicate energy poverty, not just short-term relief like untargeted energy credits.

  • Set enforceable, measurable, and time-bound targets to reduce energy deprivation across all cohorts. 

  • Include voices of those most affected by energy poverty in the plan's development and delivery.

Clare O’Connor, Energy Policy Officer at Friends of the Earth, said:

“This new Energy Poverty Action Plan is a huge opportunity for this government to leave a lasting legacy of a just energy transition. The government must ensure that the new plan sets out a path to eradicating energy poverty for good. It must also set out a fair transition to a fossil fuel-free society, unlocking the benefits of warmer homes and lower energy bills for everyone.”

Age Action’s policy specialist Nat O’Connor said, 

“While we welcome the new Fuel Allowance for the Over 70s, more still needs to be done to target support at older persons living alone who are most likely to experience fuel poverty. In 2023, 5.6% were unable to afford heat due to cost according to the CSO’s SILC survey. Age Action is calling for an Energy Guarantee for Older Persons that would guarantee older people enough energy to cover their basic needs.”

Aoife Foley, National Financial Inclusion & Social Policy Officer with National Traveller MABS, said:

"The Energy Poverty Action plan must be fully inclusive and equitable, taking concrete steps to eradicate energy poverty for good. This includes more equitable distribution of energy supports, expanding eligibility for the fuel allowance, and increasing the allowance itself. We need a functioning caravan loan scheme and a caravan rental scheme to provide energy-efficient accommodation options to help Traveller families escape energy poverty."

Fleachta Phelan, Policy Advocacy Manager with Disability Federation Ireland, said:

“Disabled people have many extra costs, including higher than average energy usage. 3 in 10 people unable to work due to long-standing health problem (disability) went without heating at some point last year, compared to 1 in 10 nationally. The government must prioritise targeted support for those most at risk of energy poverty – including bringing in a Cost of Disability payment, and ensuring social protection payments provide enough that people can afford the basics, like keeping their house warm.”

To permanently address energy poverty, the groups also call for specific measures like:

  • Deploy community energy advisors in every local authority to provide face-to-face support for households with energy costs, retrofitting and grant applications.

  • Set out a multi-annual strategy for retrofitting all state-owned housing to a B2 BER with clear targets, multi-annual funding commitments, and additional technical and personnel support for local authorities.

  • Prioritise measures to reduce reliance on fossil fuels for vulnerable groups. Supports community-led renewable energy projects and provides incentives for renewable energy solutions in community housing projects.

  • Ensure all social protection payments are above the poverty line and indexed to inflation. Expand eligibility for the Fuel Allowance and explore the introduction of an Energy Guarantee Scheme, guaranteeing a basic amount of energy for all.

  • Follow through on the Housing for All commitment to introduce minimum BERs in rental properties starting in 2025 and publish a long-term plan to retrofit the private rental sector.

  • Expand eligibility for the free energy upgrade scheme to include tenants receiving the Housing Assistance Payment, on the condition that a lease of 5+ years is offered.



  1. The organisations who have collectively developed these recommendations include: Friends of the Earth, Age Action, Community Law & Mediation: Centre for Environmental Justice, INOU, National Traveller MABS, Disability Federation of Ireland, Irish Rural Link, Threshold, Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice, Zero Waste Alliance Ireland, Irish Heart Foundation, Ecojustice, Independent Living Movement Ireland, Good Energies Alliance Ireland, SVP, Climate & Health Alliance, National Women’s Council, Social Justice Ireland, and BOLD Climate Action

  2. The joint submission from civil society organisations is available here.

Organisations who have collectively developed the recommendations