Dad fights for survival

A FATHER who returned to education after being made redundant has spoken about the devastating impact the recession has had on his family’s budget.

A FATHER who returned to education after being made redundant has spoken about the devastating impact the recession has had on his family’s budget.

Philip Clarke from Lios Dubh, Armagh Road, Dundalk said his “overstretched budget” might be crippled by the recent “savage cuts in mature student grants”.

“I was made redundant in 2008 and was advised by numerous state agencies at the time, to return to education as the job market had shrunk considerably,” said Philip.

“For almost ten years I worked full-time and paid my taxes and contributions to the state. I purchased a modest and affordable home, and started a family. As the sole earner in my family, this was a tremendous shock to our quality of life.

“I am now entering the 3rd year of my multi-media degree at DkIT, and over the past two years we too have had to endure the various reductions in benefits and raising of taxes, along with the rest of the country.”

Philip added: “My partner has successfully found part-time employment on three different occasions over the last few years, despite the difficult job market.

“We have had to make numerous sacrifices throughout this time to keep our heads above water, including various day to day expenses like owning our own transport, health insurance and pension contributions.

“However, these savage cuts to mature student grants may now cripple our already overstretched budget, and may also be the deciding factor, for me to now not finish my degree at DkIT.”

Philip is that he will secure “meaningful employment” by attaining a qualification in multimedia but now fears for his future.

“I am not an economist or a state minister, yet even I can see that these cuts will now pull the rug firmly out from under the feet of many families around the country, who have the finishing line of a path suggested and advised by various state agencies, in sight,” he said.

“These cuts may make the completion of my studies impossible, yet I...have received grants for my first two years.”