'Families are about as frugal as we can possibly get now': Cork public urged to attend cost of living protest 

Saturday’s protest, part of a nationwide day of action, will assemble on Grand Parade at 2pm.
'Families are about as frugal as we can possibly get now': Cork public urged to attend cost of living protest 

Speakers at a Cork Cost of Living press conference at Quay Co-op, Cork, ahead of a protest in Cork on November 12. From left: Erin O'Leary, UCC student; Sinéad Roche, UCC Students' Union; Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire, T.D.; Marie-Claire Jennequin and Caitríona Twomey. Picture: Denis Minihane.

A WORKING mother of three school-going kids in Cork has spoken of how families like hers are at the pin of their collar trying to make ends meet.

Marie-Claire Jennequin said she will be marching in Saturday’s protest organised by the Cork Cost of Living Campaign calling on the Government to implement additional measures to help mitigate against the spiralling cost of living.

“The biggest issues that we’re facing at the moment are very often with the costs associated with simply putting food on the table for our families,” said Ms Jennequin.

“There’s a real struggle to provide your children with a healthy breakfast before they go to school in the morning or to provide them with a hearty, nutritious warm meal when they come home in the evening. At this point, myself and other families are about as frugal as we can possibly get now. There is no more go for the cheapest option. We have gone as cheap as we can. The only other option remaining then is to buy less food.”

Ms Jennequin was speaking at a press conference in the Quay Co-op on Sullivan’s Quay today ahead of the cost-of-living protest.

“Parents, like myself, I feel that we are really being put to the pin of our collar just trying to survive through the winter,” said Ms Jennequin.

Pointing to the Government previously implementing minimum pricing for alcohol, she asked: “Does it not logically, therefore, follow that they could implement maximum pricing units?”

Marie-Claire Jennequin speaking at a Cork Cost of Living press conference at Quay Co-op, Cork, ahead of a protest in Cork on November 12.Picture: Denis Minihane.
Marie-Claire Jennequin speaking at a Cork Cost of Living press conference at Quay Co-op, Cork, ahead of a protest in Cork on November 12.Picture: Denis Minihane.

Also speaking at the press conference was Caitríona Twomey of Cork Penny Dinners, who said people are contacting the charity “morning, noon, and night” looking for help.

Some have “lost the will to survive” and along with providing ‘survival bags’ of food for the day, the charity is now issuing people with “survival advice” too.

Penny Dinners is doing its utmost to instil a message of hope in those at such a low ebb, she said. “Tomorrow is another day and we will try to help people to get through today to make it to tomorrow.”

UCC Students’ Union communications and engagement officer Sinéad Roche said the cost-of-living crisis continues to have a significant impact on students. 

“It is a really tough time for students at the moment and everyone is feeling it. It’s getting worse now we’re going into winter,” she said.

Also speaking was Erin O’Leary, a student at UCC, who said she and her housemates have decided not to turn on their heating this year as they are unable to afford the rising bills.

Sinn Féin TD for Cork South Central Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire said there needs to be “feet on the street” this Saturday for people to “get the assistance that they need”. Saturday’s protest, part of a nationwide day of action, will assemble on Grand Parade at 2pm.

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