Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe announced the €4.7 billion budget for 2022 yesterday (October 12).
He addressed the Covid-19 Pandemic by praising the Irish people and said it had “brought out the very best in Irish society.”
He also praised the frontline workers and workers in the care sectors over the past year and a half.
In a €31 million health package, there will be free contraception for women aged 17-25.
University of Limerick student Mairead Sheehy said:
“I’m delighted to hear about the introduction of free contraception, as this will alleviate so much financial pressure for young people.
I was quite shocked as It has been a long time coming and I welcome the new measure.”
Keeping with health, the Government plan to expand dental access for medical card holders.
For third level students who benefit from the SUSI grant, there will be a much welcomed €200 increase.
One third level student said, “the increase in the SUSI grant is a step forward in the right dierction but there is still a lot to be done to help sudents cover all costs when studyng full time.”
For people who are still unable to attend work due to the pandemic, the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) will continue until the end of February, while the minimum wage is set to increase by 30 cents to €10.50 per hour.
As more students are travelling to college, unable to source accommodation there is some good news as a new youth travel card introduced in mid 2022 will offer people aged 19-23 a 50% discount on public transport.
When asked, students who commute said that while this is a great scheme, it does little to help the young people right now who have to get buses ofen four hours before their class begins due to the accomidation crisis.
“A youth travel card is a great initive but the problem of inadequate public transport services across Ireland , especially in rural places is still a huge probem,” one student added.
There is set to be no price increase on alcohol, while a packet of 20 cigarettes will increase by 50 cent.