Sinn Féin spokesperson on Further and Higher Education, Rose Conway-Walsh TD, has said that, while the government plan to part-fund student accommodation is a move in the right direction, identifying just 667 student beds is simply not good enough and lacks the ambition needed to address the student housing crisis.
Teachta Conway-Walsh said:
“A decade of under investment in higher education has left us with a chronic lack of student accommodation.
“Today’s announcement that the government will part-fund just 667 student beds is simply not good enough. The government needs to wake up to the scale and severity of the housing crisis and treat it like the emergency it is. These bit-part measures will not deliver the change that is needed.
“Right now, shovel-ready projects that could deliver over 3,000 student beds have been shelved due to a lack of government support.
“This announcement will deliver zero student beds in either Dublin or Cork. That is despite DCU alone having planning permission for 990 additional beds since 2019.
“Sinn Féin, in our alternative budget, allocated €81 million to deliver affordable accommodation at scale and take pressure off students and families.
“Students are suffering because of the wider housing crisis, and investing in student accommodation would also take pressure off the private rental market.
“I welcome the recognition that the existing strategy has failed to deliver affordable student accommodation. College-built accommodation has always been the right approach and it must be affordable.
“Universities have the land, capacity, and desire to deliver students accommodation projects. But they need to be backed by government.”