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A “growing amount” of West Clare families are struggling to pay rent and HAP, a local councillor has flagged.

After it emerged that 375 families in the county are dealing with a food and fuel shortage as a result of the pandemic, Cllr Cillian Murphy (FF) warned that longer-term impacts are coming to the surface.

Speaking at a meeting of the Rural Development Strategic Policy Committee (SPC), the Kilkee representative highlighted that “a growing amount of people who would have been very reliant on weekend work or casual employment to make ends meet” are now finding it increasingly difficult to pay their rent or Housing Assistance Payment (HAP).

“Something bigger is coming down the track on top of this, I know hands are tied as a Council as to what we can do but it is worth flagging up the chain,” he commented. Cllr Murphy was aware of two families “well behind” on both payments.

Senior executive officer with the rural and community development section of Clare County Council, Bernie Haugh stated that the issue has previously been raised among the COVID-19 community response forum. “It is important that people that engage with the system until they got back on top of their bills”.

Details of a confidential debt support system within operation by the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) were brought to the attention of SPC members by agriculture and farming representative, Denis Tuohy.

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