Galway West TD Mairéad Farrell has described the results of UCD Student’s Union’s (UCDSU) accommodation report as “shocking but unsurprising”.
The survey revealed the impact of the acute shortage in housing on students across Ireland, and the impact this is having on their mental health.
Students were surveyed over a two-year period, and the report found that a lack of affordable accommodation is having a significant negative impact on the educational experience.
It found that 71% of respondents had difficulties or extreme difficulties in meeting their monthly housing-related costs, with the same percentage finding the process of finding accommodation somewhat or very difficult.
Sinn Féin TD Mairéad Farrell said that this report “sets out in stark detail the terrible impact the housing crisis is having on students and how it’s lowering the entire student level experience.”
“For many students the reality is now that life outside of the classroom, the laboratory or the library is non-existent.”
She said that for those that are renting, the cost of just keeping a roof over their heads leaves “little other income to enjoy college life”.
The report set out that for those students that were renting, most were paying between €750 and 900 per month.
The report included some important recommendations, but Deputy Farrell said that with the next academic year just around the corner, the Minister is ‘fast running out of time’.
“We need proper regulation for digs type accommodation. Some respondents to the survey pointed out how they weren’t allowed to lock their bedroom door and hence didn’t have the most basic level of privacy and security. Others spoke of living in constant fear of eviction.
“One theme that comes through quite strongly from the survey results is the terrible impact this is having on the mental health of students.
“The government needs to make a serious effort in Budget 2024 to try and alleviate some of the pressure on students.”