Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Education Charlie McConalogue has slammed Minister Jan O’Sullivan’s failure to tackle the accommodation crisis facing third level students.  For the third year in a row, students are finding themselves struggling to find suitable accommodation because of a combination of rising rents and a shortage of supply.

Deputy McConalogue said, “Over the last three years students have been finding it more and more difficult to find third level accommodation.  College residences make up only 11% of total student accommodation in this country, with the remainder of students left to find a place to stay in the private rental sector, which is already oversubscribed.  Many students are spending their summers scrambling for accommodation before being squeezed out of the market through bidding wars.  Year on year the situation has deteriorated, yet the Minister has failed to introduce measures to help these students.

“While Minister O’Sullivan commissions reports on the issue, students are becoming increasingly desperate about how and where they will find accommodation and how they will be able to afford to pay for it given the massive hikes in rents over the past three years.  The Government’s response has been absolutely pathetic and is putting intolerable pressure on students and their families.  The Minister has failed to outline any measures she will be taking to address this escalating crisis.  The reports she has ordered are an attempt to deflect attention away from the fact that neither she nor her predecessor Ruairi Quinn have done anything tangible to address this issue.

“Thousands of students and their families are being put through untold worry and stress as they are forced to spend weeks and even months house-hunting ahead of the start of the new college year.  The high cost of rent, combined with increases in the student registration charge and changes to the grants system is making it more and more difficult for students to afford a third level education and placing a third level education beyond the reach of more and more families.  This Government is eroding many of the changes that previous Governments had implemented to make it easier for people to access third level and now through its inaction on accommodation has allowed additional barriers be put in the way of thousands of potential students across the country”.