UCD students protest against proposed rent price-hike

by Gazette Reporter
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Students in University College Dublin held a protest last Tuesday, against plans by the southside university to hike on-campus rents by 12% over the next three years.

UCD students gathered at 9am on Tuesday to call for the proposed increases to be scrapped. The protest coincided with a meeting being held by university management over the proposed rent increases.

The student union at UCD have been vocal about their opposition to the proposed increases, with UCDSU saying students did not receive any forewarning or consultation over the hike in living costs.

Joanna Siewierska, the President of the student union, said the students are “outraged”.

“We are showing the university management team that they will not use campus residences as a fundraiser anymore,” she said.

Prominent politicians such as Sinn Fein’s Eoin O’Broin have also written to college management over the increases in rents.

“I have written to the Presidents of UCD, DCU… [and] TCD requesting meetings to discuss proposed on-campus student rent increases. High rents are a barrier to education. There has to be a better solution to financing of student accommodation,” O’Broin said.

Labour Party education spokesperson Aodhan O Riordain has said the12% rent hikes are unacceptable.

He said: “Third-level institutions across the country are using the housing crisis as a way to make a quick buck.

“The housing crisis we are now facing is becoming a prevalent feature in Irish society and these student accommodation companies are exploiting this crisis to charge extortionate accommodation fees.

“It is completely unacceptable to expect students and their families to pay between double and triple the annual college fee upfront for student accommodation.”

In response to the news of the increase in rental costs, former UCD students have voiced concern on social media that hikes in costs such as rent can price lower income students, or students from outside of Dublin, out of attending university.

Dr Alan Greene, a lecturer in Birmingham and a UCD alumnus, wrote: “I know I’ve said it before but I have no idea how anybody can afford to study in Dublin any more. Coupled with the increase in registration fees over the past decade and things are drastically different from when I studied at UCD. I don’t know if I could do it now.”

Another former student, Molly, said: “I had to leave UCD and finish my education in Belfast to survive, my rent was cheap at €450 while my SUSI grant at 100% was €330 pm. I’m from Mayo I had no option to live at home and I saw students like me get priced out constantly in my time and its getting worse.”

By Gary Ibbotson and Rachel D’Arcy

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