Local Fianna Fáil Councillor Aengus O'Rourke has expressed concern about the increased financial pressure on young families at this time of year due to First Communion costs, and has urged parents to resist the temptation to turn to loan sharks.Cllr. O'Rourke was speaking after the latest figures revealed that Irish parents will spend a total of €33 million over the next few weeks on their children’s First Communion, while the children themselves will be given a total of €20 million in gifts and cash. According to a survey by the EBS published this week, the estimated cost of a Communion will be €554 per child, an increase of €75 on last year.
Cllr. O'Rourke continued, “This can be a particularly difficult time for parents who understandably want to make their children’s First Communion special and memorable. The cost of outfits and accessories, preparations and celebrations all add up and suddenly families are faced with bills of hundreds of euro at a time when they can least afford it.
“When the pressure is on it can be tempting to turn to loan sharks or other unscrupulous lenders, but this must be avoided at all costs. Once involved with these people it is a vicious cycle that many families have fallen victim to in the past and find it virtually impossible to get out of.
“Getting involved with a loan shark will not help, it will only make any debt crisis worse. At Communion time, I am appealing to families who are under financial strain to resist peer pressure and rein in costs in so far as possible, instead of turning to a quick fix financial solution with the potential for dangerous implications in the long-run.”