Monday 21 January 2019

'It’s a complete disgrace' - DCU students protest 27pc increase in accommodation fees

2nd Year Communications Student Lauren Rossiter from Tipperary with DCU Students protesting at the Student accomadation on Shanowen Rd near DCU .
2nd Year Communications Student Lauren Rossiter from Tipperary with DCU Students protesting at the Student accomadation on Shanowen Rd near DCU .

Kyle Ewald

DCU students gathered outside of Shanowen Square Student Residences to protest the 27pc rise in accommodation fees for the 2018/2019 academic year.

Rent for the upcoming academic year has increased by €1,850, bringing the total cost to €8695 for the eight-month period between September 10 and May 25 bringing. This works out at €235 a week.

DCUSU President Niall Behan said: “It’s a complete disgrace and we are going to get out here and show our support to all students affected by the accommodation crisis all over Ireland - it’s a national problem.

“Why is it that tenants and the tenancy boards only allow a 4pc increase, but students are expected to fork up an extra 27pc?”

DCUSU has also expressed frustration at the increases in Shanowen Halls and Gateway Student Village student accommodations, which were set to charge €8,725 and €8,380 for the upcoming academic year, respectively.

However, following talks with DCUSU, Gateway Student Village said they will continue to charge €8,380 for standard rooms and €7,380 for twin bedrooms.

DCUSU Vice President for Welfare and Equality Podge Henry said the Students’ Union wants to not only lower the prices of accommodation affecting DCU students, but help enact legislation to prevent such price hikes across the country.

Mr Henry said: “Year in and year out there’s no legislation to stop them from doing this, and accommodation is becoming so unaffordable.

“How are students supposed to pay the minimum €205 a week? That’s outrageous, we can’t pay that?”

Shanowen Hall resident Lauren Rossiter said while the price hikes are steep, students have no option but to pay the increases: “I won’t be applying I think the rates are just so crazy, but at the same time, the fact is the rooms opened last week and they’re all sold out because people just need somewhere to stay, so people are being forced to pay these rates.

“People have been talking this week about feeling like they have to drop out, they’re commuting five hours a day, it’s just taking away people’s ability to go to college.” 

Trinity’s Students’ Union also recently took a stand against proposed increases in student accommodation.

Trinity’s Finance Committee’s proposal of a €21 increase per week in Botany Bay, New Square, Graduates Memorial Building and Front Square accommodation was not approved following major backlash from students and TCDSU.

Mr Behan said he has reached out to Shanowen for talks, but the private accommodation company has refused to meet anywhere but their offices.

“I didn’t feel comfortable going to their offices, there’s 14 developers, there’s no way I’m going into their offices, we want to meet in a neutral venue. I’m absolutely up for talks and independently chaired meeting would be really appreciated,” said Behan.

Shanowen Square said they had no comment at this time.

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