Case study - Andrea Mara
Just like thousands of others around the country, Andrea Mara finds it a financial struggle to raise a family.
She is part of the squeezed middle, with a boom-time mortgage and other commitments.
The Dublin resident has three young children, eight-year-old Elissa, six-year-old Nia and Matthew (3).
She lost her job with a financial services firm in Dublin's IFSC recently and has taken to writing for newspapers from home.
Her husband Damien works in financial services. She says her family's income just about covers the outgoings.
"I chose to do something different and I am nearly certain it is the right thing for me," she says.
With her children now attending school and pre-school, she says she has finally reached the point where she has two to three hours free every day to write.
The cost of childcare was proving too much when she was in a full-time job.
"Families are being crucified by the cost of childcare. It was costing us €2,000 a month for two children in childcare. That is another mortgage," she says.
The family has a big mortgage, which means additional lending is out of the question for now.
She used some of her redundancy money to pay money off the mortgage. But it is still a big drain on their resources.
"You ask yourself, 'How are we going to keep this going?'," she says.
"I think we would be typical of many couples where what we take in only just about covers the mortgage, and the bills," the mother said.
She wants the Government to do more for parents.
"Apart from all the stuff that concerns everybody like the Universal Social Charge (USC), income taxes ... apart from that I would love if there was something done for working parents, because there is nothing really at the moment," Ms Mara said.
- CHARLIE WESTON