A priest has urged people to share the Christmas spirit and remember those less fortunate than themselves this festive period.
Donegal Town based Father James Sweeney said that whilst many wallow in the warmth and atmosphere of Christmas there are many people who are enduring difficult times.
“Christmas is a very difficult time for many people, especially those on low incomes,” he said.
Fr. Sweeney believes that there are a number of categories of people out there; those who have built up a resilience to the cut-backs but yet continue to struggle; those who wish to get through the dark days the best that they can and families who have suffered or are suffering due to adverse circumstances.
“There are people who have suffered bereavements or issues in their lives and Christmas is a time when they are expected to be happy,” he said.
The priest has urged people to remember amidst the gift giving and celebrations that there are people around them who find it hard to feel part of the event.
“It can be an exceptionally lonely time for people. I would urge people to be conscious that it’s not for everyone. There are people who are dealing with domestic abuse, suicide, bereavements, addictions and I urge people to be particularly conscious of them,” he said.
He added that the recent figures which indicate that there will be €74 million spent over the weekend is one which doesn’t include all of society.
“There is a whole category which doesn’t fit into this at all. There are the needy, the homeless and those who are struggling.
“There is a huge number of people out there who, at the moment, are just scraping to get by,” he said adding that we are returning to the old system of those “who have and those who have not.”
He urged people to remember those who have nothing and to spare them a thought as we approach Christmas.
“The challenge for those of us who have and have plenty is to share and enjoy the sentiment of Christmas with others,” he said.
The priest said that Christmas can be a time when people feel alone or afraid.