Sinn Féin Seanad spokesperson on Housing Senator Fintan Warfield has condemned government inaction of affordable student accommodation, as highlighted by the Dublin City Council survey report recently that shows students living in Dublin City Centre were paying an average of €250 per week and that just under 80% of the students are visiting students.

Senator Warfield said: “Students are some of the hardest hit by the rental crisis. With a combination of having traditionally low incomes and usually only requiring 8-9 month leases, their options have become further restricted in the rental market. “While 2,876 bed spaces in student purpose-built accommodation have opened in Dublin in 2018, they are almost entirely part of ‘luxury’ brand of accommodation which caters almost entirely for international students which can range from €250 to €410 per week. “This not only has a knock-on effect of raising rents in the area, but it also provides political cover for the government who are failing to provide affordable options, who use these new-build figures as a sign of addressing the targets.

“This, in reality, means that the builds that counteract increasing student numbers and address landlords leaving the student rental market for long term tenancies, are out of grasp for many students in Ireland. “Sinn Féin have repeatedly asked the Department of Education and Skills and the Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government for the rental cost of these new builds, neither of which hold such data. “I fear that the inaction on affordable rental options for students has started to restrict access to third level, particularly in Dublin for those that need to rent. “The government are continuously delaying bringing student purpose-built accommodation under rent-pressure zone legislation. This delay has left students vulnerable to huge rent hikes in Dublin and Galway, in particular. We also see students living in hostel dorm rooms for whole semesters as a result of limited options. “This combined with the student contribution charge of €3000, the second highest fees in Europe. Students are feeling serious financial pressures. “We need to see government taking action on this such as the inclusion of student purpose-built accommodation under rent-pressure zone legislation and real action of providing affordable rental options for students.”