Ciarán Freeman is a fourth-year nursing student at University of Galway
“I don’t want to be too cynical about it but I think there is an element of buying votes about this budget rather than improving public services which should be the real end game and which is important for all of us.
“If you look at the tax breaks for people who are earning up to €40,000, that is fine but there are people who don’t earn anything close to that who cannot access services like, for example, speech and language therapists for their children. But the Government is introducing tax breaks rather than focusing on improving public services.
“I do agree that the €1,000 reduction on the student contribution this year is very positive because it is a 33 per cent reduction. But I believe there are categories who won’t benefit.
“And the break for Susi recipients is also very welcome but you have to think of those who narrowly miss out on Susi grants because of the means test, who are under pressure. I think they haven’t been looked after and many will struggle.
“As far as I can see, the tax credit for renters won’t make a huge difference. I don’t think it goes far enough and I don’t believe it will put a lot of money in anyone’s pocket. People in Galway are estimating that it is going to have a negligible impact. When you think of how much students and others are paying for rent now, I find it disappointing.
“As a nursing student I am obviously disappointed that nursing and midwifery students don’t get a mention. It is okay to talk about increasing the number of undergraduates but at a time of crisis in the health service they didn’t really address the concerns of unions.”