Shanowen Shakedown Part 3: Students protest rise in accommodation costs outside Dáil Éireann

Emily Sheahan

DCU students protested the increase in student accommodation prices outside Dáil Éireann today, alongside other students and representatives from Trinity College and USI.

Students at the demonstration, led by the DCU Students’ Union, called for action to be taken by Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy and Minister for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor to introduce legislation that puts rent caps on student accommodation.

“We’re moving this from just a specific one case to a genuine national movement; to call for real change, to call for amendment to the legislation, to introduce rent caps on student accommodation centres,” said VP Elect for Education and Placement Craig McHugh. “It’s not the same turn out we had for our Shanowen protest, but this is a different kind of demonstration. This is a demonstration to make a bold statement”.

If they don’t have an answer on this very soon the SU is going to up their game, said McHugh. What they intend to do by upping their game is not yet defined. “We’re not going to stop until we actually have legislation committed to us before the summer.”

Shanowen Square management have not yet responded as to why they increased their rent by 27 per cent for the academic year 2018/19, and shortened the length of the contracts.

“How do you come to a protest when you actually got to go to work to afford to keep a roof over your head?” said Alan Stevenson in regards to the lower student turnout at today’s demonstration compared to the previous two. “You want to come to the protest, but you can’t afford to.”

Minister O’Connor showed her face at the demonstration to say that she was “waiting for Podge to come back with the advice”. “I met him during the Easter Holidays and we will be looking at it. I assure you that it was at the cabinet table today”.

“We have advised you to do something in law and we are going to be helping you there. We are also talking to the Attorney General,” said Minister O’Connor.  

McHugh said it was heartwarming to see so many people out supporting the cause. “What’s the point in taking care of your students within the university, if those students can’t come back next year?”

Emily Sheahan

Image Credit: Emily Sheahan