Budget expectations from the Treaty City

Where do the people of Limerick City and County want to see government funds allocated?

Next week’s budget is eagerly anticipated in this cost-of-living crisis, with many Irish citizens feeling an extreme financial pressure in theire day-to-day lives. The importance of this budget cannot be underestimated by the current Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, and Greens coalition, as many Irish voters turn their gaze to Sinn Féin as an alternative to the current government’s policy and budget plans.

Ronan Cahill, Student President at University of Limerick’s Student Life, has stated that housing is the clearly massive issue throughout the country, especially for students here in Limerick. Cahill added that he would like to see a clear plan into the investment and infrastructure for student accommodation in next week’s budget. 

“A decrease in fees would be really promising, as I think Ireland has some of the highest fees in Europe for third level education,” the Student Life President commented.

“More needs to be done for students while we’re in one of the worst cost-of-living crisis we’ve ever seen.”

Cahill spoke of his dream to provide daily commuting students with affordable housing in the UL area. “We’ve seen a massive increase in students commuting from up to an hour or two hours away daily – which isn’t practical over a four-year course. This is making it harder for students to integrate into student life and making friends,” he added.

Of course, the budget just doesn’t impact students.

Photo by Oisin White

Majella Nolan, local small business owner of Amber Cool salon, would like to see more supports for small businesses. Commercial rates increased in September from nine to 13.5 per cent. There is hope in the business community that this will be reversed in next week’s budget.

Since the pandemic, there has been an increase in people cutting hair in garages and homes. This is damaging to the legitimate businesses paying commercial rates and water rates, as well as dealing with a cost-of-living crisis. In short, unofficial businesses are putting businesses out of business.

Looking to next week’s budget, Ms Nolan said: “Since Covid it has been impossible to get staff because we can’t compete with what people make when working from garages.

“The government aren’t supporting young businesses. I would like to see the energy cost reducing, the rates reducing, and to see some incentives to get people and staff back into hair salons.”

Small businesses are crying out for the general public to support them, rather than going to unofficial businesses for services.

Check in with Limerick Voice for regular budget updates.

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