My Budget: ‘I’m glad of the free GP visits. It’s an issue when you’re getting older with the potential for falls’

A pensioner’s take on Budget 2023: ‘There were some very interesting ideas’

Pensioner Michelle Whelan (68) living in Togher, Cork

“I’m lucky in that I don’t need to focus so much on the increases for pensioners. The weekly increase of €12 is the cost of 2½ bales of briquettes so that’s something. There were some very interesting ideas in the budget. I’m loving the fact that the Government are going to tax people with vacant properties. I think that’s brilliant. I’m not sure about raising the tax band to €40,000. It just makes it longer for people to become the squeezed middle. I haven’t heard anything about more tax for the wealthier bands of people on over €200,000.

“Normally I’d put on an extra jumper and not turn on the heat at the moment. After all, I’m a country girl. But I can understand it if people have got used to heat. We’ve been spoiled by climate change. Because I’m going away for two weeks, I’ve shown one of my student tenants how to turn on the heat, just for an hour or so every day. I trust her judgment. If I was here going into October, I’d be lighting my stove but my students don’t know how to light a fire. The €600 towards energy costs is great but is it being means tested?


“I’m glad of the free visits to the GP. I can only afford the minimum private health insurance. It doesn’t cover me for a lot. I was just above the level to qualify for a medical card while I was working. But now that I’ve retired this year, I’m kind of hoping that now I’m on a pension, I’ll get a medical card. It’s an issue when you’re getting older with the potential for breaks from falls. I was going to bump up my insurance but it was going to cost so much more. I’ll stick with what I have at the moment, a very basic plan.”