Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland family reveal cost of raising six kids for TV show

Tyrone family reveals strain on finances for TV show

By Michelle Weir

A Northern Ireland family has spoken of the spiralling cost of raising six children on a new television show.

Grainne Kelly and husband Patrick, from Sixmilecross in Co Tyrone, were one of three families who featured on a new Channel 5 show that gave viewers an insight into the cost of financing a large family.

The couple's children are all under the age of 10 - Oisin (9); Cathaoir (7); Tiarnan (6); Daithi (4); Fianna-Grace (2) and Fiachra, who is eight months old.

Thirty-six-year-old Grainne still finds time to work full-time as a cardiology nurse at Omagh Hospital.

She is currently on maternity leave after giving birth to Fiachra.

The couple live in a five-bedroom house on the Kelly family farm outside Omagh.

Patrick joked: "Having six children in the house can be very busy.

"The kids don't always live in peace and harmony."

The cost of maintaining such a large family amounts to £4,000 a month.

"We are working for them basically," said Grainne, who is receiving a reduced income while on maternity.

They admit that the family finances are under strain with such a large outgoing, estimated to be twice the monthly average.

"The difficulty with having a large family is that we have six dinners, six pairs of football boots and six sets of clothes coming all at the one time for washing," said Grainne.

She explained that she was able to work full-time thanks to strong family support, adding that the kids were able "to do a lot for themselves" such as showering and getting their breakfast, but she believes that the key is "good organisation".

Patrick is a food technician at CAFRE (College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise).

The children enjoy helping out on the family farm and can be seen on the show lending a hand to round up 120 sheep for dipping.

However, the couple are determined that, despite the financial strain, they will treat their kids to a rare holiday abroad, which Grainne jokes would be a luxury for her, "not having to make any beds".

She said: "We both work long hours and if we did not put any money away for a holiday we would not have a holiday."

She also tells her family: "This is going to be a holiday for mummy."

On this occasion, the Kellys swapped their usual camping trip for a trip to Spain at a cost of £2,500.

Despite the financial strain, the couple readily admit: "We are very lucky to have six healthy children."

Big Family Values: More Kids Than Cash was aired on Channel Five on Wednesday night

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