The Students’ Unions at Galway’s two main institutes of higher education, NUI Galway and GMIT, have condemned “extortionate” rent prices for student accommodation.
In a joint statement they criticised “luxury” student accommodation with advertised prices of €250 a week in the city centre and €200 a week in Bohermore.
At those prices, “It seems students would be better off taking out a mortgage instead of renting,” the statement reads.
Aaron Burke, President of GMIT’s SU said, “Sudents are not cash cows and this can bring extreme pressure on both parents and students, especially when people are struggling to stay in college.”
“The rate of the grant has not increased since 2012 yet rental prices have increased year on year for six years straight. This kind of accommodation far exceeds the already high rental prices that exist in the city.”
Both Unions, and the One Galway Movement, are planning Crisis Campout in Eyre Square on Tuesday, September 11 to highlight the need for more purpose-built student accommodation and social housing.
Over the summer NUIG’s SU heavily protested a decision by the owners of Cúirt na Coiribe student accommodation in May to raise rents for the year by €1,000.
A recently released report from Daft.ie found that on average the cost of just renting a room as a student has risen by nearly ten percent compared with 2017.
Megan Reilly, President of the SU at NUIG said: “We cannot stand by these luxury student accommodation providers taking advantage of the current crisis.”
She warned that, “At this rate, people could be paying up to €1,250 a month for one room in one apartment; some people wouldn’t even pay that on their mortgage monthly.”
“At the other end of the spectrum we have students who are living in hostels or commuting hours to go to college because they can’t afford to live in Galway.”
The first round of CAO offers for places at colleges and universities were released last week, setting off another scramble for students to find a place to live before September.
Galway East TD Anne Rabbitte has said that she knows of at least 22 students that were sleeping rough in Eyre Square last September because they couldn’t find a place to live.
This year, Deputy Rabbitte warned, that number could be as high as 50.