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Minister launches guide to help older people stay warm and save money this winter

Published 22/12/2015


OFTEC and Age Action launch second winter campaign for older people 

OFTEC Ireland, Age Action and Kathleen Lynch TD, Minister of State with responsibility for Older People, officially launched a free guide, offering key advice to help older people using oil home heating to stay safe and warm throughout the winter period. 

OFTEC's David Blevings with Minister Kathleen Lynch and Age Action's Justin Moran and Breda Sargent

The guide, which is being distributed throughout Ireland, was created by OFTEC, which represents the domestic oil heating and cooking industry in Ireland, in conjunction with Age Action. 

Following the success of the campaign which launched for the first time last year, Minister Lynch is once again lending her support to the campaign to highlight the important issue of excess winter deaths and raise awareness of how those at greatest risk can keep safe and warm this winter. 

Serious threat

Kathleen Lynch TD, Minister of State: “With harsh winters posing a very serious threat to the health and wellbeing of older people across Ireland, it’s essential that older people know what they can do to keep their fuel bills low and stay warm and well over the winter months. I’m pleased to once again support this guide which not only provides money saving tips, advice on energy efficiency and oil tank security, but also information on heating payments and schemes for older people. It also contains useful phone numbers and general guidance on staying warm and is a must have reference guide for all older people throughout Ireland.” 

Age Action will be distributing the guide throughout its network of offices and shops and the guide is available free of charge. Alternatively, a digital copy is available to download from both the OFTEC and Age Action websites. 

David Blevings, Ireland Manager of OFTEC, said: “We’re delighted to launch this campaign with Age Action, now in its second year, and work with the Minister on this important project to support older people who use oil heating. Approximately 600,000 homes in Ireland use heating oil as their primary heating source so we feel it’s vital to provide older people with as much information as possible to help them save money and keep warm through the coldest part of the year.” 

Stay warm and save money

Eamon Timmins, Chief Executive of Age Action said: “Many of the most vulnerable older people rely on oil heating to keep warm. But with high numbers of older households struggling to afford the fuel they need, it’s essential that people know what they can do to keep their fuel bills low and stay warm over the winter months. Following the success of the winter campaign last year with OFTEC, we are relaunching the guide to ensure the most vulnerable people in our society have access to important information on how to stay warm and save money this winter. We are delighted to support this initiative for a second year and work with OFTEC to continue to promote health and wellbeing for older people across Ireland.” 

OFTEC is working with Age Action to provide community information sessions on how to stay safe and warm this winter and save money through Age Action Ireland’s Lifelong Learning groups. The sessions will provide first-hand advice and personal guidance on how to keep warm efficiently this winter, with a Q&A opportunity and tips on household energy saving from OFTEC representatives. 

David Blevings added: “With oil prices at a six year low and the cheapest form of home heating in Ireland, we want to help as many people as possible continue to save money with oil and have made this information available online through our Oilsave website. However, we were very aware that this may not be reaching the most vulnerable group, older people, which is why we’ve worked with Age Action to produce the guide.” 

“There are also grants available under the Better Energy Homes Scheme from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) for those with older, inefficient oil boilers and the details are contained within the guide and our registered technicians can help older people to take advantage of the grants while they are still available to reduce energy costs and improve energy efficiency.” 

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A Fair Society for All? Listening to the Voices of Older People

Often, inequalities experienced by older people reflect an accumulated disadvantage which can be as a result of factors such as socio-economic status, health, gender, location. How existing inequalities impact on us as we age is something we in Age Action explored through a panel discussion 10 September – A Fair Society For All? Listening to the Voice of Older People – in Croke Park, on the occasion of the Annual General Meeting 2019.

An audience of over 160 people, including members of Age Action and people working in the ageing sector, joined the conversatoin which included a panel disucssion moderated by the CEO Paddy Connolly. The discussion centred on a discussion paper, Equality for All - Older People for Equality, published by Age Action in advance.The  panel set the scene with inputs from Michael Taft, Economist and political economy columnist, Colette Bennett, Policy Analyst Social Justice Ireland, Deirdre Garvey, CEO The Wheel, Ailbhe Smith, Co-Director of Together for Yes.