THE IRISH CABINET has approved guidelines to be used by banks and other creditors when meeting citizens with claims of insolvency. Although some of the guidelines suggest penal servitude to opposition politicians, I know they also reflect reality around our kitchen table.
Even before government guidelines have been published, the Free Legal Advice Centre reports, "banks have refused to allow people who have made debt settlements to spend money on dental work, car reparis, or after-school activities for their children." 
Another leaked guideline involves childcare expenses. If the job taken doesn't offset the cost of child care incurred, the current draft guidelines allow for banks to decide "a resonable standard of living" for people entering debt-settlement arrangements.  When you're sitting in front of a bank manager with your spreadsheet and grocery shopping receipts, you'll probably cave in to the demand to cutting child care if that's suggested.  And you might have to cut your Sky TV subscription and give up a family pet for adoption.