A decision by the Minister for Social Protection to double the fuel allowance for one week in response to the Status Red weather warning has been welcomed.
ALONE, the charity that supports older people to age at home, warned that cold temperatures can have a serious impact on older people.
Social Protection Minister, Regina Doherty, has announced that the weekly fuel allowance of €22.50 will be increased to €45 for one week in response to the weather warning.
"This weather is a public health issue. Following heavy snowfall, it's really important that older people stay warm by turning on their home heating, wearing layers of light but warm clothing, eating at least one hot meal a day and staying indoors where possible," commented ALONE chief executive, Sean Moynihan.
He pointed out that 50% of excess winter deaths experienced in Ireland can be linked to poor thermal efficiency - that is poor heating and insulation in people's homes.
"ALONE is urging older people to take extra care and encouraging those who are concerned about their own wellbeing during the cold weather to call for assistance and help if needed. ALONE has volunteers and staff ready to assist and advise on issues relating to food, heat, or medication," Mr Moynihan added.
He also called on the public to remember their older neighbours who live alone and who simply may need some company.
ALONE thanked all of its staff, volunteers and supporters nationwide for their continued hard work during the ongoing bad weather.
Anyone with concerns about their own wellbeing, or someone else's, can contact ALONE on (01) 679 1032.