Saturday 3 December 2016

Not statistics, but tens of thousands of stories of hopelessness and helplessness

Published 03/07/2014 | 02:30

Getting a job changes a person's life. It provides purpose, financial independence, and the opportunity to provide for family and to contribute to the community.
Getting a job changes a person's life. It provides purpose, financial independence, and the opportunity to provide for family and to contribute to the community.

She was a cook in a school kitchen and enjoyed the work, not least because the hours were compatible with family life – when her children finished their lessons, she could be at home with them.

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But when her husband lost his job as a result of the recession, the sums no longer made sense. They totted up their incomings and outgoings, and discovered that her salary left them just €6 a week better off because what they gained in income they lost in social welfare and other benefits.

Reluctantly, she took the decision to give up work, although she feels it was forced upon her by the recession – by her husband's job loss. She would have become one of the working poor, she says, if she had remained in the school kitchen.

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