Simon Harris: “I don’t believe that the current student accommodation policy is adequate.”

Speaking at a press conference on the launch of Trinity’s new disability hub, the Minister spoke on the wider issue of access to education

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris welcomed the opening of a new disability hub in Trinity.

In an address, he said that College is “leading the way” for inclusion across the education sector, as ten percent of the student population has a disability.

The launch of Trinity’s new disability hub coincides with the launch of the government’s new Higher Education Access Plan, which Minister Harris described as the “most ambitious plan to ensure that education can be inclusive.”

Wider access to education

The wider issue of access to education was at the forefront of the discussion, with access to housing, the rising cost of living and the Ukrainian refugee crisis being addressed by Minister Harris.

Minister Harris introduced the introduction of up to €6,000 bursary for any Ukrainian person that wants to access Higher Education and Training.

The Minister stated that it is “absolutely the experience of the people of this country that the Ukrainian people who come here to Ireland want to embed themselves in the community, wa

Harris also highlighted that “this is the first academic year since September 2018 that we have a normal year.”

The Minister stated his opposition to current government housing policy, saying: “I don’t believe that the current student accommodation policy is adequate and I haven’t believed that it was adequate since I started this role.”

He announced that the Government will invest “hard-earned taxpayer money in helping colleges bridge the gap and build college-owned student accommodation.”

He also highlighted the Government’s promotion of digs, mentioning that families can let a student rent a room for up to €14,000 tax free, while also not affecting SUSI grants, fuel allowance or social welfare.

Additional reporting by Evan Skidmore O’Reilly.