Struggling families lose payments for religious ceremonies

The Government has announced its cutting the exceptional needs payments for religious ceremonies.

More then 3.4 million euro was paid in communion and confirmation grants in 2011 to over 14,000 families.

The payout was slashed last year with 12,500 families receiving 1.5 million euro - and now this year it will be axed altogether.

The Department of Social Protection says that although clothing costs should be met by normal social welfare payments, it still provided funding for children's and adults' clothing in "exceptional circumstances".