It’s not every day a county councillor gets to bend the ear of European Commission President Jean-Claude Junker and ask him to open up funds to make Cork homes more energy efficient.
But that’s exactly what Cllr Alan Coleman did at the weekend when he addressed a special meeting on energy efficiency in the European Parliament in Brussels.
And the upshot is he remains hopeful his request will be listened to.
The former mayor of Co Cork is the vice president and only Irish member of the board of Energy Cities — an organisation which aims to cut the carbon footprint in the years ahead.
The Bandon-Kinsale municipal area councillor told Mr Junker and the European commissioner for climate action and energy, Spaniard Miguel Arias Canete, about a scheme Cork County Council is using to help poorer people lower their energy bills.
“Fuel poverty hits the poorest people in social housing. Cork County Council is upgrading its housing stock to prevent this. We are making our council houses better insulated and putting in fuel-efficient central heating systems,” Cllr Coleman said.
“So people will not, in future, have to spend large sums of their income on costly coal.”
Cllr Coleman said he impressed on the two senior officials the need to expand grants to make homes more energy efficient.
“I want to see new grants being made available to communities and individual householders to cut down on fuel waste and I’m hopeful that I was listened to.”
Cllr Coleman has championed the climate change agenda within Cork County Council for many years and following his election as vice president of Energy Cities, gained a high profile at a European level culminating in the honour of addressing its senior leaders.
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