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Burden of debt hits Inishowen hard 03.09.08

SVP and MABS gear up for busiest year in 15 years

A SPOKESPERSON for the St Vincent de Paul society in Inishowen has said they are bracing themselves for their busiest winter for 15 years as the reality of the economic downturn begins to hit home.
Speaking to the Inishowen Independent, Kevin Cooley President of the Buncrana conference of St Vincent de Paul said that local conferences have noticed a large increase in the number of families approaching their members seeking assistance to cope with the costs associated with sending their children back to school.
“Conferences have recorded a 40% increase in requests compared to this time last year and many of these relate to school costs,” he said.
And backing a call from the St Vincent de Paul in Dublin for an increase in the Back to School Allowance he said that the society was all too aware that apart from having to pay for uniforms and books, parents sending children back to school had to pay for other expenses such as compulsory gym footwear, photocopying and stationery costs, and voluntary contributions to the school.
He warned however that back to school costs are just among the many bills that some families in difficulty are now struggling to pay.
Mr. Cooley suggested that because employment was at an all-time high so too was disposable income and as a result people could afford to buy their new homes, foreign holidays and cars that their parents could only have dreamt of.
“Those who didn’t have the resources to support and compete with the luxurious lifestyle of their neighbour the lure and availability of easy credit to has led to a widespread debt epidemic that has hit many in Donegal,” he said.
Explaining that the Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS) were working hand in with St. Vincent DePaul to help people, he urged those who were in difficulty to make sure they did something about it.
“People are in denial and cannot accept the fact that they cannot support the superior lifestyle they have had for so long. They must cut back on spending if they do not have the necessary income and resist the temptation to feed the problem by borrowing more.”
Warning people to beware of loan sharks and sub-prime lenders who are growing in number around the country and are helping only to make big problems even bigger, he concluded by urging people to contact MABS or the St Vincent de Paul if they need help. If you need help contact SVP 07491 73933 or MABS Buncrana on 9321856. (Story: Inishowen Independent)
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