May 23, 2023
Findings of new Student’s Union Accommodation Report show Minister needs to act fast – Mairéad Farrell TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Higher and Further Education, Mairéad Farrell TD, has said results of a UCD Student’s Union (UCDSU) Accommodation report were “shocking but unsurprising”, and that “it’s long overdue that the Minister took action”.

It’s findings revealed the impact of the acute shortage in beds on students across the country.

The report surveyed students over a two year period and found that a lack of affordable accommodation is having a significant negative impact on the educational experience.

It found that 71% of respondents had difficulties or extreme difficulties in meeting their monthly housing-related costs, with the same percentage finding the process of finding accommodation somewhat or very difficult.
 
Teachta Farrell said:
 
“This report sets out in stark detail the terrible impact the housing crisis is having on students and how it’s lowering the entire student level experience. For many students the reality is now that life outside of the classroom, the laboratory or the library is non-existent.
 
“For those that are renting, the cost of just keeping a roof over your head leaves little other income to enjoy college life. The report set out that for those students that were renting, most were paying between €750-900 per month. This is completely unfair.
 
“The report sets out some important recommendations. Many of which have been talked about for some time, but with the next academic year just around the corner, the Minister is fast running out of time.
 
“We need proper regulation for digs type accommodation. Some respondents to the survey pointed out how they weren’t allowed to lock their bedroom door and hence didn’t have the most basic level of privacy and security. Others spoke of living in constant fear of eviction.
 
“One theme that comes through quite strongly from the survey results is the terrible impact this is having on the mental health of students.
 
“The government needs to make a serious effort in Budget 2024 to try and alleviate some of the pressure on students. They’ve clearly failed in their house building targets, so they’re going to have to look at other issues like student fees, SUSI, and other housing measures like digs regulation.”

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