MEMBERS of the St Patrick’s Conference of St Vincent de Paul based in Wicklow town are bracing themselves for a surge in demand for their services as hard-pressed households begin to feel the squeeze as the cost of living continues to rise.
The increased cost of energy bills, rents, interest rates and even day-to-day expenses like groceries is placing considerable pressure on many households, with the situation exasperated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Mary Woolley of the local St Patrick’s Conference is expecting a busy period for all their volunteers over the coming months.
“So far the demand on us has been quite gradual but we are expecting that to change very soon,” said Mary.
“The cost of fuel and oil has gone through the roof. It’s now over €1,000 to fill your tank with oil. The price of coal has risen sharply as well, and the Carbon Tax comes into play next month and that will place even more pressure on people. Even the price of foods such as milk, bread and vegetables has risen dramatically.
“The whole Covid pandemic affected the whole economy and now you have the war happening in the Ukraine as well, which will also have an impact. In reality the war is only at the early stage. Unless some sort of agreement is reached, which looks unlikely, the war could only get worse.”
Mary and her fellow St Patrick’s Conference members are keen to get the message across that they are available to assist anyone who finds themselves in difficulty.
“We are here to help anyone who is feeling under pressure. We can help with food, fuel and utility bills. The Government increase of the energy credit to €200 and the fuel allowance lump sum payment of €125 will help households, but only for a little bit, as it will only really cover a month.
"No one should be embarrassed or fearful of reaching out to us, even if they are someone we haven’t encountered before. We are here to help in any way we can.”
The conference can be contacted at 086-7314589 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anyone seeking help should visit svp.ie and make a request for assistance through an email. They can also contact (01) 8550022 and make a request for your local conference to contact you back.