DCU Students’ Union President Vito Moloney Burk said the SU are calling on the government to provide Higher Education Institutions with grants to build purpose built student accommodation on their campuses.
Burke said that the solution to the issues that students are facing in regards to finding affordable accommodation is supply: “Prices will not go down, really, unless supply increases”.
Burke said the goal of the March for Affordable Accommodation on October 3rd is first and foremost to lobby the government to allocate grants to colleges and universities around the country to build student accommodation.
In May, Eoin Ó Broin introduced the The Residential Tenancies (student rents, rights and protections) Bill 2018 in response to the the Shanowen Shakedown movement. In regards to the prices that increased before Ó Broin’s legislation was passed, Burke said: “The horse has bolted”. He added that the solution to bringing prices back down is increased supply of accommodation.
During the Shanowen Shakedown movement, DCU students protested the 27 per cent increase in rent for of the student specific accommodation Shanowen Square. The introduced Bill acted to cap rent increases for student accommodation at 4 per cent annually.
The DCUSU President said that its very difficult to retrospectively bring a price down but if supply is increased, “eventually the likes of Shanowen will start to lose business” and will be forced into reducing prices.
On September 21st, the Union of Students in Ireland passed an emergency motion to support the Take Back the City protest that occurred the following day. Members of the USI and DCUSU protested outside Uninest Student Residences on Bolton Street, where the rent starts from €255, as part of the protest.
The Take Back the City protest saw nationwide demonstrations against the housing crisis, with an estimated 1,000 protestors blocking off O’Connell Street bridge.
In relation to the March for Affordable Accommodation, Burke said: “It could be a very effective protest, and I believe it will be, but you won’t see it overnight”. He said that the difficulty is that “it’s not very tangible” and could it could be years before the desired result is delivered.
“It’s a massive issue for us and it’s so relatable for DCU students”. Burke said the protest is about “not resting on our laurels” and keeping the pressure up for as long as possible, “longer than I will be here”.
By: Emily Sheahan
Image Credit: RollingNews.ie