Not surprisingly, there has been a significant increase in the numbers availing of the State’s Money Advice and Budgeting Service in Waterford over the past two years.

Local Fianna Fail Deputy Brendan Kenneally asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs Mary Hanafin how many people in the city and county have used MABS in 2007, ’08 and ’09.

In 2007 there were 541, rising to 806 in 2008, and again last year, to 882 up to the end of September.

The basic aim of the service is to help people over-indebted to moneylenders, and others who have budgeting problems, to manage their money and gain access to affordable credit.

Waterford MABS was first established in 1993 in the Ballybeg area. Its main offices are now at 6B Wallace House, Maritana Gate, Canada Street (tel 051-857929; open Monday – Friday, 9am to 5pm). There are a number of outreach offices as well, details of which can be obtained over the phone. West Waterford MABS is based at the Civic Offices, Dungarvan, tel (058)44922.