Trinity students were among thousands marching in a national demonstration this afternoon in protest of the housing crisis.
Protesters took to the streets to call attention to housing shortages across the country as well as the rising cost of rent.
In a statement on social media, Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) outlined: “We see students #LockedOut of education without access to affordable housing, children homeless, men and women dying on our streets because they can’t find shelter.”
“The Government has chosen to ignore these facts, chosen to continue the regime of plunging more and more families, young people, and students into homelessness,” the statement continued.
Trinity students gathered outside House Six at 1:30pm before joining the demonstration at the Garden of Remembrance, where TCDSU and the Union of Students’ in Ireland (USI) joined forces with other students’ unions to march as a student bloc for housing rights.
Speaking to Trinity News, USI Vice President for Campaigns Michelle Byrne explained that “the reason why students are so concerned about the housing crisis is not only that is affects us now, but it will affect us for years to come”.
“It’s absolutely disgraceful that the government aren’t even meeting capacity of the amount of beds that we need,” Byrne continued, referring to the government’s National Student Accommodation Strategy. When the government launched the strategy, Byrne outlines, there was an excess demand in purpose built student accommodation of over 23,000 beds, expected to rise to up to 26,000 by next year. Speaking to the Oireachtas Committee on Housing in November, Byrne explained that “this means we are still 16,000 beds short even if all purpose-built student accommodation which is projected is successfully completed”.
Accommodation has been at the heart of students’ concerns this year with protests occurring across the country. October’s Raise The Roof rally saw 3,000 students take to the streets of Dublin to demand affordable student accommodation.
Earlier this year, Dublin City University (DCU) students staged a series of direct actions, including a demonstration outside the Dáil in April, following a 27% rent increases at student accommodation complex Shanowen Square.
National University of Ireland, Galway Students’ Union (NUIGSU) recently lost a case it took against student accommodation provider Cúirt na Coiribe through the Residential Tenancies Board following 18% rent increases. Speaking to Trinity News, NUIGSU President Megan Reilly stated the result was in accordance with what the SU had been expecting.
USI intends to publish the findings of the case, according to Byrne, who noted that the report therein was “quite significant”. She said that the result “confirms that licenses at that location are tenancies covered by the RTA (Residential Tenancies Act) and RTB and that rents at the location are covered by Rent Pressure Zones”.