Young children with respiratory problems in particular will benefit from the expansion in the improvement scheme that is focussing on homes in Tallaght and Crumlin, according to Dublin South West TD and Independent Minister, Katherine Zappone.
The minister explained that an existing scheme targeted at those over the age of 55 is being extended to cover children aged 12 and under.
It is expected that 500 family homes in the Dublin 24 and Dublin 12 postcodes will benefit.
Minister Zappone said the improvements will cut down on hospital visits, reduce asthma attacks and prevent fuel poverty by making family homes warmer and healthier.
“Since the introduction of the pilot Warmth and Wellbeing Scheme in our communities earlier this year, 147 local people over the age of 55 qualified for home improvements,” the minister stated.
The Government footed the bill for works which averaged €20,000 per house in both Tallaght and Crumlin.
Much of the work has been completed in time for winter, while large scale projects will resume when the weather improves.
The new year will also see a huge expansion when families who have children with respiratory problems or asthma will also qualify.
Under the means-tested scheme those in receipt of Fuel Allowance or the One Parent Family Payment will have the work carried out for free.
The improvements will be carried out on homes to improve temperature, energy efficient and air quality.
Minister Zappone said she hopes the success of the scheme in Tallaght will lead to it being rolled out nationwide.
“Official figures show that children with asthma and other respiratory problems miss an average of 10 school days each year because of illness.
“The piloting of this scheme in our communities has been a success.
“Health and Wellbeing is an example of how the Government can improve the lives of people of all ages by taking preventative action.
“As a local Independent Minister I have asked that a local awareness campaign will be launched across Tallaght through local doctors, the HSE and the Sustainable Energy Authority to make families aware of the expanded scheme.
“It is also important that the benefits of the work are kept under constant review.
“It is important that every step is taken to ensure that as many people as possible benefit.
“As minister I have worked with my colleague the Minister for Climate Change, Denis Naughten, to secure this expansion.
“It is my firm hope that it will be a success and that Tallaght will pave the way for a similar Nationwide scheme in 2018.”