Sinn Féin spokesperson on Further and Higher Education, Mairéad Farrell TD, has said that Minister Harris has utterly failed students when it comes to the crisis of student accommodation.
Deputy Farrell added that despite his big announcements around student accommodation, the main thrust of his policy relies on vulture funds delivering high cost luxurious apartments that are out of reach for most families.
Teachta Farrell said:
“I’m not sure what planet the Minister is living on. Why he thought relying on vulture funds to deliver purpose-built student accommodation would address the crisis when we can see the impact they have had on the normal residential sector is beyond me.
“The rent for these types of apartments is astronomical. Yes they may come with bowling alleys, 24-hour gyms, cinemas and rooftop terraces, but students never asked for this. What they want is cheap and cheerful.
“Over the space of two years, students would pay almost what is needed for the deposit to buy a house or apartment. This is crazy stuff. Many also have to rent the room for 51 weeks instead of the usual academic year of 39 weeks.
“There are serious questions over whether the owners of these complexes applied for a change of use with their respective planning authorities to do this.
“Ministers Harris and O’Brien should hang their heads in shame.
“It is time for a radical change in our approach to student accommodation delivery, and it is time for a change in government.”