Students are entitled to an education and to the facilities that enable them to achieve this - Deputy Lowry.

TD’s concern over student accommodation crisis

Deputy Michael Lowry says that the current student accommodation crisis is spiralling out of control as Third Level students are unable to secure accommodation for the start of the new academic year. “Plans for the provision of purpose built student accommodation solely for the use of students must be an urgent priority for Government,” he said.

“Tipperary students and their families, just like those right across the country, are at their wits end searching for a place to live to enable them to study in universities and colleges across the country this autumn. Those still awaiting their Leaving Cert results are in complete despair as they remain uncertain as to where they may need to live. Therefore they cannot even begin to search for a place to live to allow them to make the move to Third Level Education. Many despair that they may not be able to take up a college offer regardless of their results.

"The student accommodation crisis is causing extreme stress to these young people as it is impossible to find a place to live and, if they do find a place, it will undoubtedly be cost prohibitive. I fully support the Student Union of Ireland in their call to Government that legislation must be introduced to protect students who need to have accommodation available to them in order to pursue their education. It is totally unacceptable that the accommodation that had been ringfenced for students is now not being made available to them in a number of locations across the country.

“The demand for rental accommodation for every sector of society has reached unprecedented levels. For students, who live on a very limited budget, even the most basic accommodation, if it becomes available, has gone beyond their reach. Many literally have nowhere to live as the new semester fast approaches.

"As the vast majority of suitable and previously affordable accommodation for students is privately owned, landlords are now able to command a higher price for their properties on the open market due to increased demand for housing. This cuts students out completely as, even with the highest Education Grants available to them, they cannot meet the cost of the rents currently being demanded. Many families are not in a position to subsidise their children accommodation costs at this time.

"There are reports of students who had paid deposits on their accommodation before the summer break now being informed that the accommodation is no longer available to them. Sadly, there are also reports that many students may be unable to return to or to start Third Level Education this year.

"A significant amount of rental properties are currently being occupied by those forced to flee the war in Ukraine, who took up residence in them during the summer months when Universities and Colleges were closed. Their need was urgent and many landlords responded to the appeal to step up and provide their immediate living requirements. However, this has compounded the difficulties now being faced by students as it has further reduced the availability of accommodation.

"The entire area of providing purpose built and affordable student accommodation must be a priority for Government in the upcoming term. So to must the protection of students to ensure that this accommodation remains solely for their use and guarantees them a place to live.

"These young people are the future of our country. They are entitled to an education and to the facilities that enable them to achieve this.”