Carthy supports students facing accommodation crisis
Cavan Monaghan Sinn Féin TD, Matt Carthy, last week joined students from across Ireland who were protesting outside Leinster House at the accommodation crisis that many of them are facing.
Deputy Carthy outlined that he is working with dozens of students in County Monaghan who are in dire circumstances due to the lack of suitable accommodation available to them. He said that this crisis has been a decade in the making but Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil refused to listen to concerns over that period.
Teachta Carthy said:
“The crisis facing many students in sourcing accommodation has been a decade in the making but successive governments have refused to heed the concerns over that period.
“In recent weeks I have been working with dozens of County Monaghan students who cannot source accommodation in the city of their university or college. Almost all Monaghan third level students have to travel for college. Many have to go as far as Galway or Cork – commuting daily is not an option for them.
“I was proud to stand with my party colleagues alongside students from across Ireland who participated in a protest and sleep-out outside Leinster House last week.
“It is time for a new student accommodation strategy that ends the over-reliance on the private sector that has delivered an inadequate amount of student accommodation at completely unaffordable rental prices.
“In 2017, Fine Gael brought forward its National Student Accommodation Strategy. Now, four years on from its publication, it is clear it has been an abject failure.
“The government will claim they met the 7,000 additional student beds set as the minimum target in the strategy. But, in reality, this target was never capable of meeting the real student housing need.
“Even within the strategy itself it recognised there were 24,000 students relying on the general private rental market that could not access student specific accommodation.
“Not only did the government set completely inadequate targets for overall numbers of bed to be added to the system, the plan set no targets for publicly built student accommodation or criteria for affordability.
“Less than 8% of new student accommodation built since 2017 has been publicly owned, on-campus accommodation. This amounts to only 679 beds.
“On top of this, colleges increasingly give priority to fee-paying international students for on-campus accommodation in line with government policy. This has led to a situation where up to half of all on-campus student accommodation goes to the more lucrative international students.
“We need a new strategy for student accommodation that has affordability and public ownership at its heart. We need to increase recurrent and capital funding for institutes higher education to allow them to build on-campus accommodation and offer affordable rents.
“End the conversion of purpose-built student accommodation to tourist accommodation, and encourage colleges to strike a fair balance between attracting international students and meeting the needs of Irish students.
“In the short term government needs to intervene to resolve the crisis that students are facing today. That means that all purpose built student accommodation should not be used for any other purpose. All other options must also be considered. I am aware of students that may need to leave their course of choice if their accommodation needs are not met. That would be travesty and an indictment of government parties.”