Credit unions feel the squeeze, too
Over the last two years, about 70,000 people have joined the country's 409 credit unions in the hope of getting loans which they cannot obtain from the banks.
But restrictions recently imposed by the Central Bank have reduced the flow of credit -- drastically in many cases -- and made families' struggles much more difficult.
Parents have taken their children out of third-level colleges. Others find it harder to pay utility bills. Some have resorted to moneylenders, a decision fraught with danger.