In a sign of the times, Carndonagh now has eight ‘Good-as-New’ shops currently operating. This revelation comes against a report last week which suggested the vast majority of families in this country now have less than 40 euro disposable income each week after bills are paid.
Kevin Cooley, of the St Vincent DePaul in Donegal, says there is no doubt the impact of government charges is severe while Fianna Fail’s Charlie McConalogue says it is evident more and more families locally are having to ‘recycle’ rather than splash out on something new.
Speaking to the Journal Mr Cooley said: “What we are finding is that the cumulative effect of domestic charges and other items - particularly fuel - when added together is having a major effect on families who are struggling. The government keep saying, and there is a certain truth in the claim, that the charges are not excessive but the reality is that when you added them all up the cumulative effect is major.”
Claims that the economic situation is improving nationally are not reflected here either - “There is no sign that things are improving in this area. Many people are struggling very badly,’ said Mr Cooley.
Donegal North East TD Charlie McConalogue said the pressure on families now was ‘significant’.
He commented: “The fact that there are eight ‘Good-as-New’ shops is a reflection of not only what is going on Inishowen but across the country. These shops are providing a great service in that not only are they being used to raise funds for various charities but also proving a useful outlet for families in these tough times
“People are worried and are being careful with their money, and rather than splashing out on new items they are recycling. People are doing their best to get by, and if they can get bargains that’s all to the good.”
The Fianna Fail representative said possibly a wider issue was the whole psychological effect the current recession was having on families, particularly men.
He said: “There is massive pressure on families now. Here in Inishowen we had a lot of men involved in the construction, people who worked long hours for good money to provide for their families. Now they have nothing to do, and no money coming in. They are, in many cases, just walking about. The psychological effects are severe, and the impact on families is massive. I don’t think that whole issue has been recognised by the authorities or addressed in any way. Being out of work creates a whole host of difficulties that we, as a society, need to take on board. It can also be very, very tough on a wife and children when this happens.
“I would also contend that the government when framing the next budget and introducing new policies should take cognisance of this.
“The whole emphasis has got to be on job creation and getting people back to work.”