independent

Wednesday 17 January 2018

SVP faces even higher demand after Budget

MARIA PEPPER

THE SOCIETY of St Vincent de Paul is bracing itself for an even bigger increase in requests for help as the cutbacks and increases announced in the Budget start to take effect.

The charity, which helps people in need, has experienced a 50 per cent increase in demand over the past year alone due to the economic downturn and a dramatic rise in unemployment.

'You have a reduction in social welfare payments, a cut in the minimum wage and the children's allowance, and an increase in taxation at a time when people are already finding it

difficult to cope,' said the society's Wexford area president Mary Dempsey.

The one-off €40 fuel payment is to be welcomed but it is not enough to compensate for an increase in fuel prices due to a recent carbon tax increase, she said.

Generally, when people ask the society for help, they are desperate and it's the basics of fuel and food that they need.

People who were relatively well-off as recently as a year ago are now coming to the charity for financial assistance.

'We are conscious of all these people who need our help. People ask if we are nervous about the demand that's going to come on us at Christmas. Actually, we're more apprehensive about the year ahead as all the measures in the Budget take effect. It's our hope that we will be able to meet the demand that is there,' said Mary.

She thanked people for their continuing generosity towards the society and also acknowledged Bishop Denis Brennan's public declaration of support for the annual church-gate collection last weekend.

'Obviously, the people who can still give have increased their contribution because, so far, the donations we have received have been very good,' said Mary.

She believes that the reason there is so much goodwill towards the St Vincent de Paul Society is that people realise it is there for everyone.

'We don't judge anyone and we try our best to protect the dignity of the people who come to us.'

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