'The two Brians haven't a heart between them'
"I WOULD cry, but I can't," says Ann Hughes, but her voice breaks as she tries to come to terms with the Budget cuts that will take food from her table.
A full-time carer to her 31-year-old autistic daughter Debbie, Ann is already relying on her only working son to help when her carer's payment doesn't last the week.
She doesn't want to cry, but the tears flow.
"The bills have to be paid," she says. There's the rent, electricity, heating and the credit union loan she has that bought the little car she needs to get Debbie around Tullamore, Co Offaly, where they live.
The only wriggle room is with food and that's where the €8 cut in her payment and Debbie's will be felt. Ann can list the price of all the items she buys in Aldi -- where she doesn't know what to do with a trolley as her weekly messages fit into a cardboard box.
She's also worried bills she pays in instalments will be squeezed.
She's furious with Brian Lenihan and her fellow county-man Brian Cowen, who didn't reply when she wrote to him about the effects of losing the Christmas bonus.
"They haven't a heart between them," she says. "Any minister would walk into a gents' shop and buy a tie without thinking for what we have to live on for a week."