Monaghan Students facing accommodation crisis as government shrug their shoulders – Matt Carthy TD
Cavan Monaghan Sinn Féin TD, Matt Carthy, has warned that the government is forcing young people from his constituency out of university education through the failure to tackle the housing crisis.
Deputy Carthy said that the student accommodation crisis was ‘all-too-predictable’ but once again government have failed to prepare. He was speaking after Sinn Féin published the results of survey, undertaking by the party’s Higher Education spokesperson Rose Conway Walsh, on how accommodation shortages are impacting students. The responses expose a shocking crisis in access to third-level education.
Speaking this week, Teachta Carthy said:
“The all-too-predictable crisis in student accommodation in the major university centres will mean, I fear, that some students from my constituency will be forced out of university education next year.
“For students from counties like Monaghan, which has no university, commuting isn’t always a viable option. Either they find a place to stay while studying or they cannot attend university.
“But, once again the failure of government for prepare for an obvious occurrence is causing hardship on our families and students.
“The results of Sinn Féin’s survey of students affected by the housing crisis are shocking. They expose the dire and worsening crisis at the heart of our education system. It is clear that accommodation shortages are forcing young people out of third level education, as many are planning to defer a college place or to drop out altogether as they struggle to find a suitable place to live.
“Throughout all of the stories shared is a clear sense of desperation and panic, as students battle against the clock and against the odds to secure any accommodation that they can. Students shared heart-breaking stories of missing out on having a social life or being involved in their college community, due to working long hours to pay for sky high rent or travelling for hours every morning and evening from their family homes to college.
“77% said they can’t do their course to the best of their ability due to exhaustion or missing classes due to long commutes or due to working long hours or multiple jobs to pay for rent. 66% told us they are considering dropping out altogether or else taking a gap year due to problems securing appropriate accommodation. 92% said that they are experiencing stress or anxiety due to the student accommodation crisis.
“The government must act to end the student housing crisis and ensure all students can live in a suitable, affordable place near their college if they need it.
“We need capital investment to enable institutions to progress shovel-ready building projects and provide affordable accommodation.
“We need to fully examine the use of rapid build construction units in the here and now as students need immediate action.
“The Minister must also initiate a national awareness campaign on the rent-a-room tax relief to encourage homeowners to participate.
“There can be no more dithering from government. Students deserve better. They should be able to focus on their courses, without the unnecessary stress of navigating this worsening crisis”.