The fuel allowance needs to be doubled while people are being forced to stay at home, People Before Profit TD Bríd Smith says.
She is calling on Social Protection Minister Heather Humphreys to increase the current allowance from €28 a week to €56 euro a week.
The fuel allowance has recently been increased from €22 to €28, but Deputy Smith said that’s not ‘cutting the mustard’ for many people.
She told Newstalk Breakfast she's been "inundated" with messages and contacts from people who are forced to stay at home.
“Rightly, we keep telling them to stay at home to protect yourself… elderly people, young families.
“The quality of our housing stock is pretty poor - retrofitted and properly insulated houses are unusual in very many of our big residential areas.”
Deputy Smith said many people are reliant on social protection, but they now need to keep the heating on or are burning fires more regularly.
She stressed that a doubling of the rate would not be a permanent change, but simply a measure over the rest of the winter period while people are forced to be at home.
She explained: “It’s a COVID measure - it’s not something we’re saying should remain on a permanent basis. It’s to get people being locked down over the winter.
“That money can come from where the money comes from to pay for the PUP, wage subsidy scheme or the subsidies that are being given to small and medium enterprises. It’s the same problem - it’s coming from the restrictions.”
She said the fuel allowance was previously increased for a cold snap a few years ago, so it makes sense something similar is needed now.