Cash-strapped families convert Communion clothes into funds
CASH-STRAPPED parents have resorted to selling their children's Holy Communion outfits to raise some extra funds.
The elaborate garments, which in recent years have become more and more extravagant, are usually kept as keepsakes but some families are being forced to sell them as they try to make ends meets.
The prized possessions are increasingly appearing on auction sites and on notice boards in local supermarkets with the label "worn only once".
Photographs of girls' dresses and boys' suits accompany the advertisements in a bid to attract buyers shortly before the Holy Communion season.
A mother, named Debbie in Co Laois, assured prospective buyers on Donedeal.ie that her daughter's gown is in pristine condition.
"Hi, I am selling my daughter's Holy Communion dress," she wrote.
"Worn just once but looks new."
While others even specify how little the gown was used. "Worn for only three hours. Fully dry cleaned. Excellent condition," another ad reads.
Parents have targeted this time of the year especially for the Holy Communion season of April and May.
The Money and Budgeting Advice (MABS) agency has explained that families are under such financial pressure with the recession that they are taking drastic measures to try to convert any of their superfluous possessions into cash.
MABS representative Michael Culloty remarked: "Many families are in dire straits after losing jobs or getting pay cuts or just struggling with the general cost of living."
The price of second-hand Communion dresses and accessories varies between €40 and €100 on auction sites such as Donedeal.ie and eBay.ie.
"In the current economic climate, people are being forced to be very resourceful in terms of how they can bring in extra income," Mr Culloty said.
"It is something that I and MABS staff are seeing every day now."
For those who can still afford to buy new Communion outfits, choices have become much thriftier over the past year.
Instead of labelled designs, which can cost up to €300, parents prefer to buy shops' own brands, such as Debenhams and Marks and Spencer's collection, for a third (or less) of the price.