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State may intervene to build more on-campus student accommodation to free up family homes

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Further and Higher Education Minister Simon Harris

Further and Higher Education Minister Simon Harris

Further and Higher Education Minister Simon Harris

The State may intervene to build more on-campus student accommodation to help bring down rents, according to the minister for further education Simon Harris.

Mr Harris said if planning permissions and lands owned by universities could be used, this would lead to a “very significant” increase in student housing.

He implied that a similar intervention could be put in place as the Government’s €450m Crói Cónaithe (Cities) fund, where developers will get up to €144,000 to build an apartment.

“We’ve seen the State take decisions to intervene where there has been what has been so-called market failure, where there hasn’t been an ability to build apartments,” he said.

“Is it possible to tweak or to come up with a new model where the State would actually support our higher education sector in building more accommodation?

“If we do, I believe we could see a very significant increase in supply in student accommodation.”

Minister Harris said he is currently working on proposals with Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien and that they will be brought to the next Cabinet sub-committee on housing.

He also said there is support across Government for such an initiative, as it will mean students not renting out houses, which could instead be used to accommodate families.

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“What we need to try and do is come up with a model where we can provide enough on campus accommodation over time so that actually students who are currently competing with a family and a couple of children to rent a three bed terraced house or a three bed semi can actually be freed up to go and live in student accommodation,” he said.

Minister Harris was speaking as he announced increases to limits of money students can earn during the summer months to still be eligible for the SUSI student grant.


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