Students sleeping in cars and sofas due to housing crisis
Students from TU Dublin who protested last week

Students sleeping in cars and sofas due to housing crisis

THOUSANDS of college students walked out of lecture halls and classrooms in protest of the housing crisis and cost of living crisis, with a TD saying that students are sleeping in cars.

With some displaying signs with the words “walk out before we drop out” as they took a stand at exactly 11.11am last Thursday, Sean Crowe TD questioned the Government’s lack of action.

The Union for Students in Ireland (USI) planned protest took place on campuses all across the country, including in TU Dublin – Tallaght.

Students at the third-level institution are clambering for rent protections, greater availability of accommodation, abolishment of the student contribution charge, and a living wage of €13.10 an hour.

“Anyone hoping to attend the Tallaght campus of Technological University Dublin is faced with extortionate rents far and away above what students can afford,” Sinn Féin TD for Dublin South West, Seán Crowe, said.

“Students are struggling to get by day by day.

“Students are sleeping in cars, on sofas or commuting exhausting journeys because there simply isn’t enough housing.

“PHD researchers are pushed to the brink of their finances, without a living wage or decent conditions. SUSI grants are in dire need of reform.

“Some young people are even passing up on college courses because they simply cannot find somewhere to live.

“Where are we to find the nurses and doctors to work in our hospitals, the engineers and construction technicians to build the homes we so desperately need, the teachers to work in our schools if we do not give students the most basic of supports to continue on to third level?

“The student housing crisis should shame the government. It is not good enough for government Ministers to act surprised every September. Students deserve better.”

Through Budget 2023, the Government announced a once-off contribution of €1,000 to full-time undergraduate students to cover the student contribution charge.

Students are to be granted a double SUSI maintenance grant payment in December, with students due to get an increase in their payment by either 10 percent or 14 percent from January 2023.

From next year, the income threshold for the 50 percent student contribution grant will increase from €55,240 to €62,000 per year.

Student contribution will be reduced by €500 or families earning between €62k and €100k, with the Postgraduate SUSI grant also set to increase by €500 in September 2023.

Some students which were due to start college this year in TU Dublin – Tallaght have had to deter their place by a year due to the student accommodation crisis, according to the Students’ Union.

James Curry, who is Deputy President of TU Dublin Students’ Union, who is based on Tallaght campus, previously told The Echo that the changes announced are not enough.

“I know Budget ’23 came out and it did give us some small things such as the €1,000 reduction in the student contribution charge – but that’s only for this year,” he said.

“Even with the changes to the SUSI grant, but the thing is, that won’t be implemented until next year.

“As much as we welcome the change, it’s still not enough and there’s more stuff that can be done.

“This walkout is to show that the students have had enough, we’re not happy and more stuff needs to change.”