For Aisling McNiffe and her son Jack, trying to cut back on spending during this cost-of-living crunch is a real challenge.

Financially they already had little room for manoeuvre. They did make some changes: They cut back on TV bills, and cheaper house and car insurance was found.

Jack has Down Syndrome and other needs. Aisling provides him with round-the-clock care.

"This coming now (after Covid) is kind of like the straw that broke the camel's back. We have been at home and not doing anything but any money that we do have is gone now on bills, so yeah, it's tough," said Aisling.

There are lots of items of medical equipment in the house and that means their electricity bills are high, but they can't cut back on that.

Aisling explains what some of the medical equipment is used for in Jack’s bedroom: "The first thing I have is the ceiling track hoist, and that goes into the bathroom.

"And then I’ve got the bed which is a high/low one, then I have a nebuliser here for Jack and a monitor which measures his heart rate and his oxygen."

Jack’s condition also means their house must be kept warm. Their oil costs have nearly doubled in less than six months.

"I had a 500-litre fill last December and it was €395, and then I put in a fill…for €595 and then at the end of April...that was €690. That’s just colossal."

Aisling and Jack do receive allowances to help with their bills but as inflation continues to bite, additional measures would be most welcome.

"It’s been tough ... Jack turned 16 last summer, he gets Disability Allowance now. I get the Carer’s Allowance and I have the Household Benefits package which gives me some money toward my electricity bills and gives me my TV licence for free but it's tough going.

"If I didn't have Jack's fuel allowance, I would not have been able to heat the house and that's the truth," added Aisling.