A free guide, offering advice to help older people using oil heating to stay safe and warm throughout the winter period, was launched by Oil Firing Technical Association (OFTEC) Ireland and Kathleen Lynch TD, Minister of State with responsibility for Older People today (6 January).

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 Ireland.

Excess winter deaths are a major issue in Ireland, with older people particularly at risk.

Ms Lynch said: “With this winter predicted to be particularly harsh, 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 support this new guide that not only provides money saving tips, advice on energy efficiency and oil tank security but also information on heating payments and schemes for the elderly.  It also contains useful phone numbers and general guidance on staying warm.”

Age Action will be distributing the guide through its network of branches and shops and anyone can order a copy, free of charge, by calling OFTEC on 01 864 5771. Alternatively, a digital copy is available to download from both the OFTEC and Age Action Ireland websites.

David Blevings, Ireland Manager of OFTEC, said: “Approximately half a million 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.”

Robin Webster, 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.We are pleased to be working with OFTEC to provide information specifically aimed at those who heat their homes via oil-fired central heating systems.”

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, details of which are contained within the guide.

For more information visit www.ageaction.ie or www.oftec.org.

Pictured: Kathleen Lynch TD, Minister for Older People, pictured as she launches OFTEC’s new oil heating guide to help Older People to ‘Keep Warm this Winter’, with Ellen Reddin and David Blevings Ireland Manager.