It is that time of year again where students across Ireland scramble to find accommodation, but this year finding a place in Dublin has become even harder and UCD is not helping. Housing prices have skyrocketed over the last few years across the country and Dublin has become one of the most expensive cities in Europe to live in. It has not helped matters that more students are looking for housing from universities across the city and were given very last-minute notice to find it before they are expected to be in the classroom.
Given the circumstances, one would think that UCD would try to make the lives of the students easier, but the opposite is happening. Accommodation on campus increased yet again, with some of the student housing being upwards of €1,200 a month. How can the university consider this affordable?
When talking to UCD Students’ Union (UCDSU) Welfare Officer, Molly Greenough, said that ‘there’s no need for a penthouse, luxury accommodation that’s costing upwards of €1200 a month.’ It is important to note that the increase in prices for on-campus accommodation was set by UCD themselves. The price increase has the potential to result in students from middle- and working-class backgrounds being forced to defer or limit their access to third-level education just because they cannot find a place to stay.
UCDSU President, Ruairí Power, stated his concern saying, ‘we have no confidence in UCD’s Housing strategy. The discriminatory focus on luxury housing is locking students from low- and middle-income backgrounds from studying at UCD. We are asking for Darragh O’Brien to ringfence all HFA financing for affordable student accommodation, the introduction of a vacant property tax and an end to the license system.’
Last Wednesday, on the 15th of September many UCD students attended a housing crisis rally in front of Dáil Eireann alongside the students union. They demanded more affordable accommodation, an end to extortionate luxury accommodation on campus and more action from the Government on this issue.
One can only hope with the support of the SU, other students raising their voices and spreading awareness over social media that we as a student community can change the astronomical rise in rent prices.
Aisling Kidney – Politics Writer