Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Education Charlie McConalogue has said thousands of students are facing serious problems finding appropriate and affordable accommodation for college, a problem that’s being made worse by the fact that the government is still sitting a report on the crisis.
Deputy McConalogue has called for a report from the Higher Education Authority (HEA), delivered to the government in April, to be published immediately.
“It’s a disgrace that the government has not published this report in time to make policy decisions ahead of the start of the college year,” said Deputy McConalogue.
“Students really don’t need this stress at the start of the academic year. There are significant accommodation shortages in Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Galway. The HSE report was supposed to help chart a way forward and help avoid a student accommodation crisis. But the government is sitting on that report and I can’t see any evidence that policy decisions are being actioned on foot of the report to help ensure students have appropriate places to stay.
“This is a real headache for students and their families. For many students heading off to college it is there first time to leave home and parents are understandably anxious to see their children in affordable and suitable to their needs.
“The lack of action from Education Minister Jan O’Sullivan is shocking in this regard. Students have been accepting college places and taking a risk that they’ll be able to find something appropriate before the academic term gets going.
“The simple fact of the matter is a comprehensive student accommodation programme can’t be put in place without key aspects of the HEA report being known. The report is with the Minister and I cannot understand why it still has not been published. This is not a contentious report that could be tied up with legal difficulties; in fact the lack of publication has now become a major difficulty in itself. I am urging Minister O’Sullivan not to delay any longer, to publish the report and set out how the government will address the accommodation crisis.”