WATCH: The Student: What are you hoping for in the Budget?
Liam Mac Aoidh, a 20-year-old student from Dungloe, Co Donegal, is studying songwriting at DIT and is in his second year.
He says that college itself is very inexpensive, but believes that the real challenge is in living costs.
“Coming from the background that I do, having lived in Donegal, it’s extremely challenging to be able to afford to eat, to stay in the place I live in. Grants don’t quite cover your cost to live which is a big disadvantage for students coming from outside of Dublin,” he told the Irish Independent.
Liam would like to see a number of changes made in the upcoming Budget that would make life easier for young people and for students.
He is particularly concerned about funding for the Arts Council, as well as issues around social status, minimum wage and taxes.
“The Arts Council has been hit very, very hard over the last couple of years which I can’t help but feel suggests an apathy to the arts in Ireland. I don’t think I’m being terribly cynical to say so, but I do think arts are something of a backburner for the government.”
As a self-employed musician, Liam earns only a small amount of money, meaning he does not qualify to pay tax on his earnings. However he believes that the Universal Social Charge (USC) should be decreased for self-employed workers in other sectors.
He also believes that the increases in tax on cigarettes in recent years has little impact on those who already smoke.
“It probably helps very much with people who are considering starting smoking who would look at the cost of it and say ‘oh, it’s too much’. But I think for people who are smokers, I don’t think the extra tax on it will actually make an ounce of difference.”
Liam says that the alcohol measures are “very weak” – he can see why they have taxes on alcohol but thinks that it is not getting to the core of problem drinking.