Your Budget: 'Extra €5 no encouragement to find work'
Jobseeker - Ekaterina Koneva
Living in a small town and bringing up a child with special needs are the two biggest obstacles to Ekaterina Koneva finding suitable employment.
The 34-year-old divorcee, originally from Lithuania, has been living in Birr, Co Offaly, for the past 10 years.
A university graduate with a degree in management, Ms Koneva is studying part-time at Athlone Institute of Technology for a Bachelor of Law degree. She would like to find work in the public sector but says sourcing after-school care for her son Denis (11) and the cost of travel are major impediments.
"Because I live in a small town job opportunities are limited and I would have to travel to a bigger town like Athlone, Tullamore or Portlaoise to find a job in the area I'm interested in," she said.
"Otherwise we would have to move but then we have the problem of finding a place to live which is not easy.
"My son has epilepsy and autism and has a SNA (special needs assistant) in school, but it is very difficult to find suitable after-school care."
Ms Koneva says the extra €5 she will receive in her social welfare payment is welcome as it will help her meet her costs, but she is disappointed that announcements in childcare are for young children and won't help her provide after-school care for her son.
"An extra €5 will not encourage me or anyone else on social welfare to go and find work," she said. "I don't see how the Government tries to encourage people to find work.
"I don't see any possibility for me and there's nothing to help me find a job."