Kerry Fianna Fáil Senator Mark Daly has said he is extremely concerned about the level of financial distress being experienced by Kerry people on a weekly basis as they struggle to pay their bills and meet their mortgage or loan commitments.
The latest ‘What’s left’ survey from the Irish League of Credit Unions has detailed just how squeezed people are at the moment.
Senator Daly said: “The Credit Union survey has shown a large increase in the number of people who say they have €100 or less at the end of the month after paying essential bills. There are now over 1.85 million people in this position, up 35,000 from June. The survey also showed half of all adults are now struggling to pay their bills on time and I know from my own experience in Kerry that there are people juggling their bills and feeling under increased pressure every week.
“It’s of no surprise to me that the 42% of people have had to borrow money to pay bills in the past year according to the Credit Unions, constituents have spoken to me about having to take out short-term loans or borrowing money from friends just to keep going.
“Time and time again the biggest pressure people have is their mortgage. The latest Central Bank figures show that more than one in five mortgages is in some level of distress. We are not suggesting that there is a silver bullet that will solve this problem overnight but the Government and the banks are not facing up to the reality people are facing in their personal finances every day.”
Looking ahead to the budget Senator Daly said: “There is a huge lack of confidence among consumers and it’s having a huge impact on the local economy in Kerry. The survey from the League of Credit Unions shows 96% of consumers are worried about the impact the budget will have on their incomes and it’s essential that the Government does not do anything to take more money out of these people’s pockets. The people I’m meeting are living in the circumstances highlighted in this report and cannot give anymore.
“8 in 10 Credit Union consumers surveyed are weighing whether they’ll have to live in the cold this winter because they’re worried that they won’t be able to cope with the increasing energy costs. We need to do everything possible to give relief to people living in distress and not add to the pressure they’re experiencing. Ability to pay and fairness will be the principles that will shape Fianna Fáil’s pre-budget proposals and our assessment of the Government’s budget.”