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Students panicking as thousands have nowhere to live yet

STUDENTS will return to college in a few weeks' time, but thousands have nowhere to live.

With private rents near colleges soaring, students face long commutes to college in Dublin next month.

Some bedrooms cost between €800 and €1,000 a month close to the capital's busiest campuses.

Long queues of worried students looking for help are forming outside student union offices around the city.

The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) said students who are forced to commute long distances will end up dropping out of college.

As a short-term solution, the USI is advising students to take up old-fashioned digs.

"We are cautioning people not to just jump at the first thing they see - it's still important that it's safe and habitable," spokesman Greg O'Donoghue told the Herald.

Trinity Halls has more than 1,000 student beds, but the demand has been twice that, so there will be many disappointed students, said welfare officer Ian Mooney.

"People are beginning to panic, but it will probably get worse once the offers come out and people realise they didn't get a place," he said.

It is a similar situation for students seeking on-campus accommodation in UCD, where up to four times as many applied for places as the college can provide.

inaction

UCD president Feargal Hynes told the Herald that developing student-specific accommodation was the only long-term solution.

"It would take students out of the private market, thereby stabilising rents," he said.

"We're in this situation because of the Government's inaction over the last number of years. It's the panic stage now."

hnews@herald.ie


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