DUNDALK PARENTS took to the streets last week ahead of today's budget to tell the government that a cut in children's allowance would mean even more financial hardship for them.
And one woman told the Argus how she had to take cash from her weekly rent to pay for a winter coat for herself - and that's before the expected €10 per child per month reduction in the allowance.
The protest, organised on social media by Dundalk women Lorraine Sloan from Barrack Street and Tanya Quinn from Avondale, took place outside the courthouse and was attended by around a dozen people.
However, the message - that child benefit cuts would adversely affect those on the lowest incomes - was broadly welcomed by locals, with scores signing a petition.
The protest was organised with the help of an organisation called 'Parents Against Child Benefit Cuts' based in Dublin. Ms Sloan, a single mum-of-one, said she expected there would be additional cuts in rent allowance and medical cards.
She said: 'I decided to get involved because I know how hard it is for people managing these days. I want to raise awareness about how these cuts will affect ordinary people'. Ms Quinn, a mother-ofthree, said the cuts would affect everyone and people, especially on low incomes and social welfare, 'are relying on that money to feed their children'.
She said: 'It is terrible to see the way people are struggling. I don't think politicians know what's happening to people - they don't have to survive on what we have to. They have little concept of just how hard it is for people'.
One woman told the Argus: 'I bought my winter coat at the weekend and I had to use the money I'd saved for my rent to pay for it. The cuts being talked about in the budget are going to seriously affect people and their children'.
The women said they hope to organise further protests in the days following the budget and have called on people, including local businesses 'who rely on parents spending money in shops' to support them.