Upcoming Events

National | Housing

no events match your query!

New Events

National

no events posted in last week

Blog Feeds

The Saker
A bird's eye view of the vineyard

offsite link Sinophobia, Lies and Hybrid War Wed Sep 23, 2020 19:15 | amarynth
by Pepe Escobar and with permission cross-posted with Asia Times It took one minute for President Trump to introduce a virus at the virtual 75th UN General Assembly, blasting ?the

offsite link Moveable Feast Cafe 2020/09/23 ? Open Thread Wed Sep 23, 2020 15:30 | Herb Swanson
2020/09/23 14:30:01Welcome to the ‘Moveable Feast Cafe’. The ‘Moveable Feast’ is an open thread where readers can post wide ranging observations, articles, rants, off topic and have animate discussions of

offsite link Jewish Settler Chief: ?Palestinians have no right to a state, Bible says Israel for the Jews? Wed Sep 23, 2020 14:36 | amarynth
Middle East Observer   Description: In an extended interview with the Israeli i24News Arabic channel, Jewish settler leader Daniella Weiss says that Palestinians have no right to establish a state,

offsite link Weekly China Newsbrief and Sitrep Wed Sep 23, 2020 12:29 | amarynth
By Godfree Roberts selected from his extensive weekly newsletter : Here Comes China Editorial Comments Now that the excitement of all the major Heads of Countries virtually speaking at the

offsite link Why would the US blow up the UN over little old Iran? Wed Sep 23, 2020 09:34 | amarynth
By Ramin Mazaheri and cross-posted with Press-TV The censored reason why the US would torpedo the UN over Iran: Iranian strength The unsaid reason the US would end the UN

The Saker >>

Public Inquiry
Interested in maladministration. Estd. 2005

offsite link Sarah McInerney and political impartiality

offsite link Did RTE journalists collude against Sinn Fein? Anthony

offsite link Irish Examiner bias Anthony

offsite link RTE: Propaganda ambush of Sinn Fein Anthony

offsite link Hong Kong and democracy Anthony

Public Inquiry >>

Human Rights in Ireland
A Blog About Human Rights

offsite link Right to Water Mon Aug 03, 2020 19:13 | Human Rights

offsite link Human Rights Fri Mar 20, 2020 16:33 | Human Rights

offsite link Turkish President Calls On Greece To Comply With Human Rights on Syrian Refugee Issues Wed Mar 04, 2020 17:58 | Human Rights

offsite link US Holds China To Account For Human Rights Violations Sun Oct 13, 2019 19:12 | Human Rights

offsite link UN Human Rights Council Should Address Human Rights Crisis in Cambodia Sat Aug 31, 2019 13:41 | Human Rights

Human Rights in Ireland >>

Spirit of Contradiction

offsite link The Party and the Ballot Box Sun Jul 14, 2019 22:24 | Gavin Mendel-Gleason

offsite link On The Decline and Fall of The American Empire and Socialism Sat Jan 26, 2019 01:52 | S. Duncan

offsite link What is Dogmatism and Why Does It Matter? Wed Mar 21, 2018 08:10 | Sylvia Smith

offsite link The Case of Comrade Dallas Mon Mar 19, 2018 19:44 | Sylvia Smith

offsite link Review: Do Religions Evolve? Mon Aug 14, 2017 19:54 | Dara McHugh

Spirit of Contradiction >>

Fine Gael Fail Students Yet Again with lack of Accomodation

category national | housing | press release author Monday August 19, 2019 22:23author by pbp - People Before Profit Report this post to the editors

Press Release - People Before Profit 16th Aug 2019

With the release of first round CAO offers this week and the new academic year quickly approaching, tens of thousands of students across the country are beginning the search for a place to live. Against the backdrop of the housing crisis, this search has become a punishing and demoralising experience for many students – campus beds are limited in number, private rents are extortionately high and conditions are often cramped or otherwise inadequate. The lack of quality affordable student accommodation has been a serious problem for a number of years now but each year the scale of crisis grows. In 2015, a Higher Education Authority (HEA) report revealed a shortage of 25,000 student beds nationally whilst also predicting an additional 25-30,000 full time students by 2024.

Though the government make occasional reference to the growing crisis in student accommodation, they have done little to meaningfully address its causes – instead, they’ve opted for their usual tact of looking at people’s crises as opportunities for their friends to make money. The fast-tracked planning and development of Purpose-Built Student Accommodation (PBSA) by large corporate investors and developers has been a case in point. PBSA developments have created far more problems than they’ve solved but they’ve delivered healthy, tax-free windfalls for the corporations behind them. Rents in private PBSA in Dublin start at around €900 per month and the developments themselves have intensified the pace of gentrification in the Inner City, where they’ve cropped up at astonishing pace. On sites that should be used for public and affordable housing, we’ve gotten for-profit development of student accommodation and consequently, dislocation of working-class people from the communities they’ve called home for generations. A similar picture is seen across the country.

If the farce of private PBSA wasn’t bad enough – this week colleges across the country announced rent hikes of their own, seeing rents in the private market as a marker for rents in college-owned halls and dorms. As one example, rents in Trinity College Dublin went up by 6.2%, despite the college turning a profit of €10.9million on their own accommodation offerings. These increases come in the context of a crisis of funding in third level, which was created by the Fine Gael – Labour government in 2012, when they cut capitation (per student funding) by 43% and introduced student registration fees. Today capitation sits around €5,000 per student, half of the EU average spend on third level, placing us among the lowest spenders in Europe. Rather than demand increased state funding, university and college heads prefer to shake down students and staff for cash – for them and for the establishment parties, education is a commodity that people may choose to invest in, rather than a public good, guaranteed as a right for all. It is this philosophy of commercialisation that is hollowing out education, hurting staff and placing barriers in the way of working-class students accessing third level.

Between rising rents, fees and cuts to the SUSI grant – education is increasingly become a privilege for the wealthy few. As costs rise, more and more young people are deciding not to pursue third level study, others are priced out altogether. The maintenance grant system is totally inadequate, with the maximum rate set at a paltry €5,915 per year plus fee remission. What makes the situation worse, however, is the cold ignorance and indifference of establishment politicians to increasing inequality in education. This ignorance was best exemplified yesterday, when Mary Mitchell O’Connor, Minister of State for Higher Education, remarked that students facing rent hikes should simply “use their grants” to pay rent, seemingly unaware that students are paying between six and fifteen thousand euro per year for accommodation on campus or in private PBSA.

What Mitchell-O’Connor’s remarks prove beyond doubt is that establishment politicians are neither willing nor able to solve the problems faced by students and colleges in crisis. They are wed to a model of free market extremism, where state spending is out of the question unless it’s to bail out bankers. They’ve pushed outsourcing of college staff, market delivered student beds and vaunted student loans to boost college revenues but they will never address the funding issue that lies at the heart of the crisis in education.

What would solve the crisis is increased state funding, the expansion of the grant system and an ambitious programme of state-led construction of student accommodation on campuses. Once built, new on-campus student accommodation should be heavily subsidised, with rents linked to people’s ability to pay. By increasing capitation and supports for students of all ages and backgrounds, we can rejuvenate a crumbling third level sector, improving access, quality and of course, conditions for workers.

This vision could be a reality but to make it so, we must build a strong, democratic student movement and to march alongside it, rejuvenated and fighting staff unions. As a starting point, students should look to the successful examples of Take Back Trinity in Dublin last year and the 2017 Cut The Rent campaign in London, which saw students go on a six week rent strike to reverse on campus rent hikes similar to those introduced here. Staff should take their example from recent trade union struggles that have won massive popular support and some of their demands – the nurses’ strike this year, the 2018 University and College Union (UCU) Strike in Britain or the inspiring series of teachers strikes that have rocked several US states so far. Together, staff and students fighting from below can transform third level and build a system to deliver education for all.

Related Link: https://www.pbp.ie/fine-gael-fail-students-yet-again/
© 2001-2020 Independent Media Centre Ireland. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by Independent Media Centre Ireland. Disclaimer | Privacy