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Charity warns ESB strike would 'hurt most vulnerable'

ALONE said today that power cuts could leave older people more isolated and put some of them at serious risk.

A CHARITY WORKING to support older people has called on ESB unions and management to come to an agreement and remove the threat of power cuts, warning that a strike would “hurt the most vulnerable people” in society.

Workers at the ESB issued a written threat of strike action pending a meeting with company executives scheduled for next week. Members of the ESB Group of Unions have already voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action over a breach by the company of an agreement to address the €1.6 billion deficit in its pension scheme.

ALONE said today that even the threat of such a strike “adds additional fear and stress to an already worrying time when they are most cut off from society – unable to leave their homes because of cold weather and dark evenings”.

CEO of the charity, Seán Moynihan said keeping warm at this time of year for older people “can be a matter of life and death”.

If they had no lighting this could also lead to accidents around the home. For some older people television and radio is their only form of daily connection to the outside world

He said it also puts those with pendant alarms at risk if they need to call for help as well as people reliant on electricity for medical apparatus such as oxygen machines.

Related: ESB unions issue strike threat ahead of meeting next week>

Poll: Do you support the ESB workers?

Read: Union boss warns that ESB industrial action could hit power supplies >

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