West Tyrone Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

Option of re-opening closed fireplaces being considered by Housing Executive- Sinn Féin

Published: 10 March, 2014

Derg Sinn Féin councillors Kieran Mc Guire and Ruairí Mc Hugh have welcomed confirmation from DSD Minister Nelson Mc Causland that the Housing Executive is currently assessing the possibility of re-opening closed fireplaces to provide a secondary heat source in response to representations he made to the Minister on the issue on behalf of residents in different areas of the wider Derg area.

In a joint statement they said,

"Housing Executive tenants in different areas of the wider Derg area, who do not live within the district's designated smokeless fuel zones, but who have had oil fire central installed have been in touch with us asking if there was any possibility of having their fireplaces re-opened in an effort to help reduce their heating costs.

"We e-mailed the Minister in January outlining this request. While Nelson Mc Causland's response re-affirmed the Housing Executive's current policy that it does not permit the retrospective opening of closed fires as there may be issues with the integrity of redundant flues which could cause problems for tenants, I welcome news that the existing policy is now under review by confirming that the Housing Executive is carrying out an appraisal of various options including: 'the possibility of re-opening closed fireplaces in the future for a secondary heat source' which could result in a change of their heating policy.

"The Minister said that when this appraisal is completed its recommendations will be submitted to his Department for consideration.

"Hopefully the Minister will favourably consider this, and other measures, coming out of the 'HE Appraisal' to help contribute to the reducing the problems of fuel poverty which affect so many in our community."