Wednesday, 8 June 2016
Department of Education and Skills
233. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills to provide assistance to the Dublin students union in the National University of Ireland in its proposed publicity campaign related to rent-a-room accommodation. [14745/16]
The Government is very conscious of the concerns regarding the availability of accommodation for students. The reality is that dealing comprehensively with this issue will only take place as part of a more general programme to address the major housing and homelessness issue, and the new Government has appointed a specific Minister for Housing with a commitment to develop an Action Plan for Housing within 100 days. The Dáil has also established a Committee on Housing and Homelessness to review the implications of these problems and to make recommendations in that regard. My Department has made a submission to this Committee specifically in relation to the issue of Student Accommodation.
In relation to student accommodation, the report, Student Accommodation: Demand & Supply, which was published last year by the Minister for Education and Skills sets out clearly that the demand for student accommodation outstrips supply in certain areas and will continue to do so in the coming years.
The full report can be accessed at:
There are 13 useful recommendations in this report some of which include capital financing, tax considerations and planning issues, as well as support for the rent-a-room scheme. Specifically in relation to Taxation, one of the recommendations contained in the Report is that consideration should be given to tax measures to develop on-campus accommodation for HEIs.
The previous Minister for Education and Skills introduced two immediate actions to begin this work.
Firstly, funding was provided by the HEA to the Union of Students' (USI) in Ireland to progress short-term solutions for students in need of accommodation. This funding will allow USI to develop their homes.usi.ie website, to communicate more effectively to student and homeowners, and to carry out research into this important issue.
Secondly, the establishment of an inter-departmental steering group to examine the recommendations contained in the HEA Report and to provide a coordinating mechanism to ensure that the higher education institutions have access to information on new potential funding and delivery models.
In addition to this, I should point out that a number of our Higher Education Institutions have Student Accommodation projects ongoing, or in the pipeline, with a number of additional on-campus Student Accommodation bed-spaces to come online from September 2016. Maynooth University have 296 new on-campus bed spaces, and UCD have 350 new on-campus bed spaces, which are due to come on stream in Autumn 2016.
In addition to this six other Higher Education Institutions are currently engaged in, or going through the planning phases for student accommodation projects, namely National University of Ireland Galway, Trinity College Dublin, University of Limerick, Dublin City University, University College Cork and Dublin Institute of Technology.
My Department is also examining other potential options for funding projects in conjunction with relevant stakeholders.
Given the similar nature of the UCD Students' Union proposal to that advanced by the USI, it would appear that the appropriate next line of communication for UCD Students' Union would be for them to discuss their proposal directly with the USI.