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Tuesday 30 September 2014

'Landlords are treating us students like we're second-class citizens'

Published 19/08/2014 | 02:30

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Luke McGuire, 20, left, a 3rd year student at IADT, Dun Laoighaire and Connlaoth McDuffie, 20, a DIT 2nd year student

After travelling by car, train, DART and bus, Luke McGuire, still struggled to make it to his 9am lectures on time last year.

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Luke, (20), a student at the Institute of Art, Design and Technology at Dun Laoghaire, has been working all summer to cover the costs of living near college but still can't afford it.

"The rents in Dun Laoghaire are €500 plus," said Luke. "There's not much point living in the city centre because a bus ticket is going to cost about €100 a month on top of the rent."

"I've to spend upwards of €15 to view every place and it's been very stressful," said Luke who is likely to face another year of 5.30am starts and a monthly commuting cost of €210.

"I did really well in my exams in first year but this year I didn't do so well. At times I even felt like dropping out because I was so exhausted," said Luke, who thinks digs would be a good idea for first years.

 FROSTY windows, collapsed floors and gardens overflowing with sewage - Connlaoth McDuffie, a student at Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT), spent first year living in such conditions on Dorset Street. He paid almost €400 a month, excluding bills.

"There was no electric heating, we had to sleep in jumpers and sometimes we'd even have to share a room because we were perished," said Conn, (20).

Securing accommodation a year later was equally as difficult. Conn ended up commuting four hours every day from his home in Cavan.

"It was a constant stress hanging over me while I was trying to study," said the food science student, who spent €20 on travel daily. "Sometimes I slept on a friend's floor or couch, but it affected my physical, emotional and mental health all year round," he said.

For Conn, finding a place this year is worse than ever as "landlords are treating students like second-grade citizens," he said.

"They know there is an influx so they are charging higher rates and extortionate prices. Landlords are being plain nasty ordering us around and making demands, they think we need them more than they need us.

"When you're moving up to Dublin you want the real student experience. Digs would be a last resort and I would consider a hostel for about €10 a night."

Irish Independent

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