Yes, I believe the cost is prohibitive. If a standard consultation takes 10 minutes, that would mean the doc is on 300 euro an hour, which I think is just a wee bit excessive.
Also, because Ireland has no sick pay laws, many minimum wage employers don't pay for the first three days, which means that those on the minimum wage have to forgo 3 days pay, and pay a days wages to see the doctor to get a note, so they can go back to work. Three cheers for the Celtic Tiger!
Personally, I have found a happy solution. My doctor is decrepit and his memory isn't what it used to be, so I just tell him I'll pay him next week. The downside to this is that he's a rubbish doctor, but it does the job when all a man needs is a sick note.