SDLP Communities Spokesperson Mark H Durkan has highlighted double standards from Sinn Féin on fuel poverty.
Speaking in The Dáil this week Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald called for the immediate introduction of a €100 support payment to help people deal with fuel poverty this winter.
Sinn Féin Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey has yet to introduce any measures to support people dealing with rising energy costs, despite indicating she would do so.
Mr Durkan said it was the latest example of Sinn Féin saying one thing in the South and doing another in the North.
Foyle MLA Mr Durkan said:
“People in the North are in the midst of a severe energy crisis this winter and as of yet they have had no help from the minister with the power to intervene – Sinn Fein’s Deidre Hargey. While people in the North suffer from a lack of support Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald has the gall to go into the Dáil and call for immediate help to support people in the South.
“The question must be asked – do Sinn Féin believe people in the South are more worthy of support than those in the North, or is this cynical electioneering from party that has shown time and time again they only care about themselves. To make this call while having the power to help people in the North who are struggling to pay their energy bills is an insult.
“I have urged Minister Hargey to take immediate action to help people heat their homes this winter and despite initial indications that something would be done, people are still waiting. Like we saw with the Universal Credit situation Minister Hargey gave people on low-incomes hope help was on the way only to fail to deliver, leaving them to pick up the pieces.
“In the absence of any kind of leadership from the Communities Minister and her party the SDLP has produced a nine-point energy costs action plan designed to help people through the next few months and then address the long-term causes of fuel poverty. There are a number of quick and easy implementable measures in our plan that would help address these issues and I urge Minister Hargey to read it. People across this island need all the help they can get to navigate this difficult winter period.”