Student unions have said that this is an ongoing crisis for years , Source: Depositphotos

Irish Students return to university, amid one of the worst rental market crises

Irish Students return to university, amid one of the worst rental market crises

The Higher Education Minister, Simon Harris, urged people to open up their homes and rent out rooms to meet housing demand

At the start of August, one of Ireland’s most prominent property websites,, published an alarming report, claiming that on 1 August there were fewer than 300 properties available for rent in Dublin. Now, as the university year is coming up, many young people are returning to the capital, looking for places to stay and finding very little on the market.

This has led student unions to declare a student accommodation emergency at an unprecedented scale. Yesterday, during a visit to Trinity College’s new disability hub, Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris urged people to open up their homes and start renting out spare rooms to alleviate the situation.

The RTÉ, Ireland’s national broadcaster, reported that Minister Harris explained that people could take in students, or indeed, anybody, and earn up to 14,000 euros before having to pay tax. Additionally, in July, Ireland’s Social Protection Minister Heather Humphreys said that income from rent-a-room would not compromise welfare payments.

Many years in the making

Student Unions across Ireland have sounded the alarm about the accommodation crisis, with University College Dublin’s Student Union (UCDSU) representatives going on social media to explain that the situation is many years in the making, while government officials try to portray it as a one-off challenge.

Indeed, since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, around 30,000 refugees have made their way to the island republic. Because of a lack of housing, the government has set up a tent city near Dublin, to top off the emergency housing centre in a vacant building at Dublin Airport.

Additionally, many Ukrainians were able to find temporary accommodation in specially designated private student housing during the summer. However, as the fall semester approaches, rented accommodations are even more scarce.

Yet, the situation was not caused exclusively by Ukrainians fleeing the war. Instead, they only aggravated the housing market's already very precarious position. According to the report, available accommodations have been steadily going down since 2008.

Moreover, Molly Greenough, President of UCDSU, explained that the accommodation crisis has been an ongoing problem. She pointed out that around this time last year, student unions around the country were again demanding immediate action, and the situation has continued to deteriorate.  



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