Parents feeling loan-shark bite at Christmas – charity

Parents feeling loan-shark bite at Christmas – charity

Parents are relying on loan sharks to stave off Christmas debts, The Irish Catholic has learned. Although the festive holiday can be an expensive time of year, a well-known charity has revealed that parents are depending on extortionate money lenders to pay for Christmas expenses.

According to Michael Deehan, who is based in one of Omagh’s Society of St Vincent De Paul shops, parents are “under pressure” to cough up more money than they can afford around the Christmas period.

“We find that some families feel the pressure, we try to persuade them against that, try and keep them away from loan sharks and put them in the direction of credit unions and people like that,” he said, adding that parents feel financially squeezed to give their children an enjoyable Christmas.

His warning comes after new findings which suggest Irish households will spend an average of €2,690 in shops this month, up €866 on any other month this year.

Mr Deehan said after Christmas, families feel the pinch and turn to loan sharks as a way to cope with building debt.

“We notice especially after Christmas, there are people who are in terrible financial stress because the Christmas party is over and suddenly the bills are coming in,” Mr Deehan said. He stressed that it’s vital people plan their spending around the holidays by trying to “look ahead at what’s coming down the line and making provision for that”.