Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Education Thomas Byrne TD has criticised the Government over its failure to deliver affordable student accommodation.

Deputy Byrne said, “The recently published Government report on student accommodation amounts to little more than a whitewash. It claims that progress is being made in providing student accommodation. This is despite the fact that an increasing number of students are unable to meet basic accommodation costs.

“The reality is that much of the new student accommodation is being built privately and rented out at exorbitant rates. The average going rate for student accommodation is now €1,400. Such rents are not affordable for a person working, let alone a student who has a much reduced income.

“Students have been hit with massive rent increases for next year in many parts of the country. Students in Shanowen in Santry have been hit with a 50% increase in rent, which follows a 30% increase on last year. Students in Cúirt na Coirbe in Galway have also been hit with a massive increase in rents which has resulted in many families questioning whether they can afford to return their child to college in September.

“The Government has rejected proposals put forward by Fianna Fáil to prevent unreasonable rental increases for students. We have put forward a Bill to extend Rent Pressure Zones to student accommodation. The Government should accept this proposal instead of clapping itself on the back for presiding over a situation where students are being forced out of accommodation due to exorbitant rent increases,” concluded Deputy Byrne.