Regional President Rosa Glackin
The freezing weather conditions experienced across the region has ignited a spike in demand for coal from those who live in rental accommodation, according to the Regional President of St. Vincent de Paul for the north west, Rosa Glackin.
The Letterkenny-based spokesperson has responsbility for Donegal, Sligo and Leitrim.
“There has been a huge demand for coal due to the cold spell. Some of the people who live in rental accommodation depend on an open fire and we have been looking after that. There has been a huge demand for coal and it would be up on last year,” Ms. Glackin said.
The cold spate of weather began before Christmas and numerous weather warnings have been in place during January and threatens to continue.
The organisation has also reported a very busy Christmas with an increase in demand on last year despite reports of more people being in employment.
She thanked all those who gave generously to the organisation before and during the Christmas period and all those who supported their shops.
Education and illness putting a strain on families
The latest CSO figures released just before Christmas show that the level of consistent poverty has only marginally improved between 2015 and 2016, falling from 8.7% to 8.3%.
The organistaion state that the fact that unemployment figures are reducing masks the reality that many of those now employed are in poorly paid or insecure employment and consequently struggle to meet essential bills.
“Our demand is slightly up on last year even with more people being reported to be in employment. However, the demands on people has also changed among other things,” she said.
Ms. Glackin said that the requirements of people have changed in recent times and the organisation is now supporting people with different needs and demands.
The people who presently find themselves struggling are those who are dealing with illnesses within a household. The cost of education has also become a huge bone of contention with the parents of students who are struggling to make ends meet.
Ms. Glackin said that there are many students across Donegal and Sligo who are struggling financially due to the high cost of renting property in Sligo and Donegal.
Charity to focus on rural areas
The charity organisation also hopes to focus on the recently published findings of the Pobal Report this year.
Findings from Pobal Report classed parts of Donegal as being among the most disadvantaged areas in Ireland.
Ms. Glackin said that those within the organisation are now hoping to be focusing on how better to support and help rural areas that have been highlighted within the report in the coming year.
She said: “These areas have poor transport systems, post offices and banks are being closed.
“There is also very little employment in these areas and there is very little employment being created in these areas,” she said.
Anyone who find themselves struggling are urged to get in contact with the organisation.
All queries and support will be treated in the utmost confidence.