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As cold snap hits, SVP pledge to help with fuel bills

By Sean O'Donnell - 03 March, 2018

If you are having problems coping with the extra cost of keeping warm, contact the Society of St Vincent de Paul for help.

The SVP’s National President, Kieran Stafford, says the society’s members are available to help people in need. “We will look sympathetically on requests for assistance with high heating bills.”

“As well as older people, we are particularly concerned about low income families living in poorly insulated and cold accommodation who may not be entitled to fuel allowance.” Last week, the government announced that, in light of the exceptionally, it would grant an extra €22.50 to all those who qualify for fuel allowance payments, some 331,000 people. However, recipients are unlikely to get the extra payment for a week or two.

Additionally, it is possible for people to appeal for additional assistance under the Exceptional Needs Payment Scheme, but this is often a cumbersome process. Kieran Stafford said, “SVP will also assist individuals and families in their engagement with the Department of Social Protection and in particular, the Community Welfare Service, which administers supports under the Exceptional Needs Payment.”

He also appealed to people to watch out for elderly neighbours and to ensure that they take no unnecessary risks. Last Wednesday, the Archdiocese of Dublin announced that some churches will be closed as a result of the bad weather. Yesterday, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin issued a further statement saying that although Churches are now opening following the thaw, ‘where weather conditions make it unsafe or where road conditions make it dangerous, imprudent or difficult, there is no obligation to attend Sunday Mass this weekend’.

It may also  be the case that there are no Masses taking place in your parish, if conditions are still bad. For example, no Masses will be celebrated in Enniskerry Parish in Wicklow today (Sunday). In a statement from the Archdiocese of Dublin, Archbishop Martin said, “Where serious conditions of access or safety arise regarding a Church building, the Parish Priest or Rector may decide that a Church may remain closed even on Sunday.”

Dr Martin added, “When people are unable to attend Mass it is recommended that they view or listen to the Mass on-line, on television or radio or that they spend a time in prayer as individuals or as a family.”

Log on to Catholic Ireland’s sister website  http://www.churchservices.tv   where you can easily find a Mass being broadcast online, not just on Sundays, but every day of the week.

(Article by Cian Molloy)

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