DCU Students’ Union hold protest against on-campus rent increase

Shauna Burdis

The “strike the rent hike” protest was held outside the U building on DCU’s Glasnevin campus. The students’ union (SU) placed tents around the campus in protest against the on-campus accommodation rent increase.

DCU campus accommodation is set to increase by 4 per cent for the academic year 2020/2021.

Speaking at the strike, President of DCUSU Christine Farrell said “What we will see is students no longer being able to come to college or to DCU in particular. DCU will just not be an option for them anymore.

“For them it won’t stand for somewhere that’s inclusive or somewhere that they can actually attend, because they just don’t seem to be caring for their students who can’t pay for their rent anymore.”

The rent increase comes as part of a major refurbishment programme by DCU, with the university investing €3.8 million on accommodation over the past three years. Another €1.8 million refurbishment programme is set to take place.

In a statement DCU, noted that the university has to invest with its own funds, as the government has not made any grants available for accommodation.

DCU’s purpose-built student accommodation falls under the Residential Tenancies Bill. The bill regulates rental increases to a maximum of 4 per cent a year in rent pressure zones.

DCU has planned to increase the rate of accommodation to the maximum percentage amount that the bill allows.

DCUSU candidate for Academic Affairs, Cormac Flynn said: “We are seeing more and more every day that students are being priced out of education, and education in Ireland is not free, it’s not affordable, we’re paying the highest fees in Europe, our accommodation is out of control.”

Currently on the Glasnevin campus, the cost for a single room in Hampstead is €6,252 for the academic year 2019/2020, this will rise to €6,502.

The more expensive College Park Superior apartments are €7,001, this will increase to €7,281.

“I am a person who has already been priced out of on-campus accommodation, and could now never afford to live in DCU with the rents the way they currently are.

“The fact that it’ll become even less affordable for someone with a difficult financial situation to live on campus, is making it a lot more difficult for people from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds to attend DCU.

“That’s going to raise huge issues in DCU where you just aren’t having a proper diversity of people in the student population because they just can’t afford to come here” DCUSU candidate for Academic Affairs, Lucien Waugh-Daly said.

Shauna Burdis 

Image Credit: Shauna Burdis