University College Cork (UCC) students are taking to the streets of Cork next week to protest against increasingly expensive student accommodation.
The “Accommodation Rally For Affordable Housing” is to be held on Thursday 20, starting at the Amphitheatre at 1pm and continuing to Amnis House.
The march is taking place in response to increasing rent prices for student accommodation, which according to UCC Students’ Union Deputy President Kelly Coyle has created a student housing crisis at “breaking point.”
In the newly-opened Amnis House, a standard ensuite room located on the ground floor costs €210 per week. The cheapest accommodation on offer in the building provides an ensuite room with a double bed and access to a shared lounge and kitchen. Meanwhile, premium en-suites could cost as much as €225 per week, totalling €8,550 per term.
UCC Students’ Union is refusing to endorse the complex, saying that prices are “far too high.” The “Accommodation Rally For Affordable Housing” has been jointly organised by the UCC and the Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) Students’ Unions to demand fairer rent prices.
A spokesman for Amnis House in Cork said: “Given the ancillary benefits of living Uninest Student Residences, all of which are in prime locations proximate to leading universities, we believe our accommodation represents good value for money.”
The UCC Students’ Union takes a different stance, encouraging protesters to bring their “angry shouting voice” next Thursday to radically transform the student housing market.
UCC Students’ Union President, Martin Scully, stated: “We have seen an increase every year in rent for student accommodation and have seen other colleges take a stand. Enough is enough.”
Deputy President Coyle likewise asserted: “Students cannot take anymore. There are parents taking out second mortgages, students taking on extra jobs to pay these prices because there is nothing else available.”
Demand for student accommodation in Cork is high, with 4,000 students this year applying for on-campus accommodation at UCC, which offers just 1,277 spaces. As a result, many students are have needed to find off-campus accommodation.
Earlier this week, Galway students staged a camp out in Eyre Square to protest rising rent costs in Galway, while tensions escalated in Dublin as Gardaí removed occupiers from a vacant property on North Frederick Street, culminating in the arrest of several activists including a Trinity student.