Approximately 400 National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG) students protested today against rental increases by private student accommodation provider Cúirt na Coiribe, according to NUIGSU, which took place during the second week of NUIG’s exam period.
The €1,000 extra charge will be an increase of 18% for a nine month lease compared to this year. Cúirt na Coiribe also charge a €300 deposit this week.
Student’s outrage has been focused on the late notice of the rental increase issued on May 4 and the decision to open priority booking for current residents on May 9 before then opening applications to the public.
A Facebook post by NUIGSU stated: “Essentially they are asking students to commit to these exploitive rates over a bank holiday, during the exam season and when many other student accommodation complexes are already at capacity following earlier release dates.”
Speaking to Trinity News, President of the NUIGSU Lorcán Ó’Maoleannaigh said: “Yeah we’re really pleased with the turnout given we’re bang in the middle of exams” and that NUIG management have been supportive of the campaign. Ó’Maoleannaigh also said that Cúirt na Coiribe management refuse to meet NUIGSU or return Ó’Maoleannaigh’s phone calls. Ó’Maoleannaigh has also called for an emergency meeting of the university’s governing body, Údarás na hOllscoile, which is responsible for managing and controlling all of the affairs of the university.
A statement released by Cúirt na Coiribe earlier today stated: “The new rent will bring Cúirt na Coiribe in line with the wider student accommodation market in Galway.” They cited the rental rates of nearby student accommodation complexes, which range between €135 and €148 per week, compared to Cúirt na Coiribe’s new rate of €140 per week.
The protest is part of the Cúirt Shakedown campaign and follows NUIGSU’s claims that NUIGSU representatives were removed from Cúirt na Coiribe by security staff after attempting to speak with residents concerned with the rent hike. The campaign claims that they were removed as they did not have permission to be present on the accommodation service premises.
A petition in support for the campaign has gained over 5,000 signatures.
The direct action takes place after Dublin City University (DCU) students waged a campaign against rental increases of 27% atShanowen Square student accommodation complex and 23.5% rent increase for Shanowen Halls. Take Back Trinity campaign members were involved in a number of Shanowen Shakedown demonstrations and have expressed support for the NUIGSU campaign on their Facebook page.
Cúirt na Coiribe Management Ltd did not respond to comment at the time of publication.