The Irish government will fund the construction of new student housing, following warnings that the country’s housing shortages are leaving some students homeless.
Some 667 new beds will be delivered in the short-term via building projects in areas where planning permission has already been granted but development has been stalled by increasing construction costs.
Building work will take place across the University of Limerick, Maynooth University and University of Galway with further work on projects ongoing with Dublin City University and University College Dublin.
This is the first time the Irish government has invested money in building student accommodation and it said the funding has been provided in return for “affordability commitments” on rent.
Some €32m will be invested, according to the minister.
“The step marks the beginning of the state’s new policy on student accommodation,” said Simon Harris, Ireland’s minister for further and higher education, research, innovation and science. “We will continue to progress proposals and bring them to government.”
We welcome this announcement from Minister for Further and Higher Education @SimonHarrisTD which states that the Government is going to partially fund the construction of almost 700 student accommodation beds in Maynooth, Limerick and Galway 👏 https://t.co/LcOvDyalFO
— Ollscoil na Gaillimhe | University of Galway (@uniofgalway) November 30, 2022
At the start of the 2022/23 academic year, the Irish Council for International Students experienced a 86% rise in the number of queries it had received about housing problems, while the Irish police warned that accommodation fraud targeting students was on the rise.
Ireland’s housing minister met with ICOS and the Union of Students in Ireland earlier this week to discuss concerns around accommodation.
Speaking to the PIE in September, ICOS president Laura Harmon called on the government to develop a national student accommodation strategy.
“The reliance on the private market to deliver accommodation has not worked,” she added.
The government has now also approved investment in preparing technological universities to build student accommodation, which will include assessing regional needs and vacant stock.
“In order for our TUs to thrive and to ensure we have balanced regional development, we need to have more accommodation in our regions,” Harris said. “Our TUs are ready for the challenge and this funding will start them on their path.”