Fianna Fáil TD for Galway East Michael P. Kitt has called on the Education Minister to make an urgent statement on the student accommodation crisis on foot of new figures which reveal that rents in Galway city have shot up by more than 10% in the past year.  The increasing rent costs are exacerbating an already serious student accommodation crisis and will only serve to make a bad situation worse.

Deputy Kitt commented, “Students are facing a particularly difficult challenge in finding a place to stay for the college year ahead because of a combination of rising rents and a shortage of supply.  The country is in the grip of a housing crisis, and that is having a major knock-on effect on the availability of accommodation for students.

“The latest report from Daft.ie shows a major jump in rental costs in the city and county – this will heap additional pressure onto students and their parents to fork out high rents to ensure a roof over their heads.  The Government’s failure to build houses in line with demand over the past four years has led to a situation where there is now a severe shortfall of units in Galway and right across the country.  Students are competing with families and professionals for properties in the city but the reality is there are simply not enough affordable places to cater for the numbers who need a place to stay.

“The Minister for Education had promised to publish a report into the student accommodation crisis last April; four months on and there’s still no sign of it.  Meanwhile students are facing the prospect of lengthy commutes or exceptionally expensive rents because Minister Jan O’Sullivan has failed to prioritise this area.

“The issue of student accommodation has fallen off the Minister’s radar but has now reached such a serious level that urgent action is needed.  It must be put back on the agenda and be prioritised.  New measures must be introduced to ensure that quality affordable student accommodation is built, and I am urging Minister O’Sullivan to publish the HEA report without delay so that the recommendations can be acted on before this crisis deepens any further”.