FORMER millionaires are among the tens of thousands of people contacting the Society of St Vincent de Paul for help paying basic utility bills.
A senior official with the charity admitted they have received pleas for aid from former millionaires who lost everything during the crash and whose families can no longer afford basic utilities or food in their homes.
The charity have also revealed they are now receiving letters from poverty-stricken parents contemplating suicide and pleading with the charity to take care of their children.
St Vincent de Paul vice-president, Brendan Dempsey, said they will have spent almost €8m just in Cork alone this year to help poor families.
The charity official said he was stunned to receive letters from people telling him they were going to take their own lives over their financial plight.
"I got four letters in the last 18 months that shocked me," he said.
"One started off telling me that when I read it he would be gone. He was talking about suicide. He actually did (kill himself). I rang the gardai and said to them that I got these letters. In one case the gardai were in time, but in this case they weren't.
"The man's removal was taking place that evening."
Mr Dempsey pleaded with people stressed over their financial plight to realise that there is help available.
"Suicide is not the way out. We are here, the Samaritans are there. There is help there if you need it. There is a new type of person coming to us," he added.
"Those who were businessmen, entrepreneurs, I would certainly know three or four millionaires. But now they do not have electricity in their homes."
“They are entitled to absolutely no income from the State because they were self-employed."
"They were living for almost two years on their savings before the money ran out and they came to us. They had a simple request just for food. They were hungry."
Mr Dempsey also said on RTE's Today Show that he believed that many families on the minimum wage are now more hard-pressed than those on social welfare because they do not qualify for such vital supports as medical cards.