At 11:11 AM students filled Trinity Collegue's Campus in Dublin to demand housing change , Source: Depositphotos

Students in Ireland stage walkout in protest against the housing crisis

Students in Ireland stage walkout in protest against the housing crisis

In August, Ireland had just around 700 apartments available to rent in the entire country, putting the housing crisis into overdrive at the start of the university year

The unprecedented housing crisis in Ireland has led to a student walkout led by the Irish Student Union, to protest government inaction. The walkout happened today, at 11:11 AM, when thousands of students across the country left lecture halls and gathered at college campuses to demand change.

The union has a list of demands like introducing rent caps, raising minimum wages, eviction moratoriums and pushing the government for more student accommodation.

Summer leading up to a houseless university season

Back in August, one of Ireland’s biggest online rental platforms,, published a report on the housing situation in the country. The report found that on 1 August 2022, there were only 716 homes available to rent in the entire country.

Dublin, a city of nearly 2 million inhabitants, had fewer than 300 available offers. This led Ronan Lyons, Associate Professor of Economics at Trinity College Dublin and author of the report, to declare that supply in the rental market was becoming virtually nonexistent.

Importantly, this was way before the official start of the university season, when tens of thousands of young people prepared to move to big cities around the country to start their tertiary education.

During the second half of August, student unions across the country sounded the alarm that people had a very hard time competing for flats. Apartment viewings brought in regular queues and sky-high rents, while some people had to rent space across the country in Galway and commute every day to Dublin for university.

Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris then urged citizens to open up their homes for students and rent out rooms. He explained that homeowners could earn up to 14,000 euros, before having to pay taxes on that income, as an incentive for the scheme.

This offer, also known as ‘student digs‘, however, comes with very few renter protection regulations and standards. As the RTÉ reports, union representatives demand the government introduces decent protections.

Fighting for housing rights

During the protest, the Irish Student Union’s president Gabi Fullam told the crowd that the cost of living crisis permeated every corner of student life, highlighting that many students have to resort to couch surfing to get by the academic year.

Moreover, many have opted to defer the year and stay out of higher education altogether, as the high price of rents and scarce accommodation make university cities unattractive for 18-year-olds fresh out of home.

Furthermore, the Student Union claimed that the shortage of beds for students is expected to rise to 20,000 by 2024. This, they claim can be remedied by introducing rent caps to calm the market. Students also criticised the government’s 2023 budget as offering little in the sense of long-term relief on the issue.

The budget, in its own right, earmarks a 1,000-euro tuition fee cut for most students which would help but would do little to ultimately create more beds, as soaring prices are driven by scarcity.

Minister Simon Harris explained that a government priority to solve the issue would be to look into mobilising municipal and university-owned buildable land. He explained that considering the proportions of the housing crisis, undeveloped land was just not an option.



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