'Things are so tough I'll have to get a second job'
BUSINESSWOMAN Collete McGahern, pictured below, is one of the lucky ones enjoying a low interest rate on a tracker mortgage.
But after spending a small fortune building up her pub and B&B business, she now feels the icy winds of recession.
"I took out a tracker mortgage of €250,000 12 years ago to buy the business," said Collete, who runs the Glan pub and B&B in Mullahoran, Co Cavan.
"When we bought the place it was a little barn and I completely did it up from top to bottom and invested a lot of money in it."
Business was great for the first five years but then the smoking ban was introduced and everything "went drastically downhill".
"Some nights it costs you money to open the door. We are in the middle of the country and you have to leave everybody home after closing time or you wouldn't be in business," said the mother of three.
The family also runs a B&B and two years ago they were kept going with a lot of overseas visitors, but "not one visitor from abroad has turned up so far this year".
Business is now "desperate" and it is her public servant husband keeping the family afloat.
Such is the grim prospect of a turnaround in her fortunes that she is now contemplating a change in career.
Case study two
PADDY Sheanon, pictured, ended up "pulling pints" after emigrating to New York as a 19-year-old more than three decades ago.
But like many who returned home to live the Irish dream, he is finding life increasingly difficult in an economy that is squeezing him "every which way".
The rates collector from Cavan, who is on a variable mortgage, now fears having to fork out as much as €60 more a month if his mortgage interest rate goes up.
"If that happens it will leave me with very little wriggle room. I'm at the point where I'll have to get a part-time weekend job to educate my children," he said.
Paddy returned to Ireland in 2001 after nearly 20 years in America. "I'm 50 now and too old to emigrate again."
The public servant bought his present home in 2004 after taking out a €190,000 mortgage with Permanent TSB.
"I'm paying back €1,300 a month and a small extra hike would add another €50 or €60," he said.
"The big players in the economy still have their place in Spain or their place in France while the ordinary 'Joe Soap' is left to carry the can.
"What choice do I have? Things are tough but where am I going to go now. My chances of getting alternative employment are very limited."