Government eyeing Trinity for millions in state aid for planned new accommodation

The state has invested €59 million in the construction of student accommodation since December

Trinity is one of three universities being considered for millions in state aid for the construction of new student accommodation, Minister Simon Harris has said.

Speaking in the Dáil earlier this month, the Minister for Further and Higher Education revealed that €59 million in public funding has gone towards the construction of student accommodation since December.

The policy, announced last November, has helped in the construction of over 1,070 new accommodation units which had received planning permission but progress had “stalled” for various reasons.

It has delivered new beds in Dublin City University (DCU), Maynooth University, University of Galway and University of Limerick (UL).

According to Harris, government intends to implement the same policy to a planned addition of 358 beds in Trinity Hall (Halls), as well as 243 beds in University College Cork (UCC), and up to 1,254 beds in University College Dublin (UCD), all of which have received planning permission but where further progress has not been made.

College first received planning permission for the expansion of Halls almost three years ago, but this was subsequently rescinded after being challenged by a local resident in the High Court.

Planning permission for the development was regranted last summer, including the demolition of a number of existing buildings on the site, but no construction has begun since.

The proposal has met consistent opposition from local residents due to supposed anti-social behaviour from Halls residents and the potential for increased noise levels in the area.

Harris said in the Dáil that he is working “intensively” on making progress with the three student accommodation projects, adding that he aims to do so before the Oireachtas’ summer recess.

The policy is the first time in which the state has provided financial support in the construction of student accommodation. It is indicative of a growing state role in the university sector, which has increased with both last year’s Higher Education Authority Act and the forthcoming Research and Innovation Bill 2023 regarding state funding for research.

College did not comment following Harris’ remarks.

David Wolfe

David Wolfe is a Junior Sophister student of History and Political Science. He is the current Social Media and Managing Editor of Trinity News, having previously served as News Editor, Assistant News Editor and copyeditor.