Belfast Telegraph

Lone parent tells of cash struggles

Mother-of-four Glynis Curtis has had her benefits cut by almost the Taoiseach's weekly wage.

The lone parent said she is already struggling to make ends meet, often walking out of supermarkets without essentials when she reaches her weekly budget.

"I feel like burying my head in the sand but I have to get up and get on with it," she said.

"I'm don't know how I'm going to keep my head above water."

The 44-year-old survives on One Parent Family Payment of 301 euro a week, fuel allowance of 21 euro a week, monthly child benefit totalling 624 euro, as well as maintenance from her ex-husband. That will be cut by 70.33 euro a week when changes in all three payments come into force.

"That's 3,567 euro a year, not taking into consideration the VAT and taxes," she said. "I sat down here and made myself feel worse by working what Enda Kenny gets a week. It's 3,846 euro. I'm speechless."

Ms Curtis lives in Celbridge, Co Kildare, with Adam, 17, Louise, 14, Ryan, 11 and four-year-old Zoeann.

She refinanced the mortgage on the family home down to 500 euro a month after she separated from her husband in 2007. She was pregnant with Zoeann at the time and lost her well-paid job as a sales manager with a cosmetic company.

"Things were great with money coming in and then things went bad, 2007 is a bit of a blur," she said.

Last December she was forced to sell her jewellery, including her wedding ring, to pay for Christmas. The part-time psychotherapy student said she would be lost without the support of One Family, and her mother who paid her first year college fees.

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