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Irish Government to Part-Fund University Housing

Posted by Aisling Murphy in

Image courtesy of Flickr, (View licence)

Speaking in Cork, Ireland's Minister for Further and Higher Education, Simon Harris, outlined plans to propose state investment in university housing to the Cabinet.

Five Irish universities hold planning approval for the addition of up to 4,000 student beds. However, for mostly financial reasons, the construction of these units has not been started.

In his speech, Harris said: "What we're trying to do is identify the viability gap and plug it. It is a sizable investment that will run to millions."

"We are in a housing crisis. It's just not sustainable that we have planning permissions for student accommodation not activated."

The proposal is for a nearly € 100m investment in three significant third-level and further education projects.

Prior to the announcement, Harris was informed that commencement notices have been issued by Cork County Council on schemes that will deliver around 1,900 student beds.

He commented that these notices were "encouraging" but that it was solely private-sector, and he now wants to focus on expanding the university-led developments which already benefit from active planning permission.

Harris said that students who returned to university full-time at the start of this academic year faced "a perfect storm", due to a combination of being a full return to college since Covid and the Ukrainian refugee crisis adding additional pressures to the housing market.

Alongside this, it has been confirmed that the State borrowing framework to build student accommodation is now accessible to technological universities throughout the country. The department is now actively engaging with the sector to encourage them to bring forward proposals.