Postgraduate students in Limerick stay in hotels because they cannot find suitable accommodation in the city.
A sign that the student housing crisis has spread this year beyond major university cities such as Dublin or Cork, students studying in Limerick are paying up to € 390 per week for five nights in a hotel as part of the ‘an agreement between Mary Immaculate College and three city hotels to accommodate students.
The teacher training institute says this is the first time it has to do it for students returning after summer vacation. She has a similar deal with a hotel in Thurles where she has a smaller campus.
The college acknowledged that this was “not ideal” but said there was no other option.
College accommodation manager John Randles says the housing shortage is much more extreme this year than in previous years.
He says two factors are to blame, saying that distance learning meant that many students had not rented properties in the past year and a half, and that in the meantime, many homes that were available. for students have been withdrawn from this market and rented for a long time. -term.
“The owners couldn’t wait a year and a half,” Mr. Randles said.
There has also been a dramatic drop in the number of people offering traditional “dike” accommodation to students. It is something that is experienced nationally.
Mr Randles says this is largely because people are much more cautious about letting a stranger come to live in their home due to concerns about Covid-19.
“A lot of them are older and want to wait until after Christmas to see how things go,” he says.
“The phone is hopping with people looking for housing and unable to find it. Usually I wouldn’t get those calls at this point because everyone would be sorted.”
“I have a list of 80 to 100 people who usually offer accommodation to our students,” he added, explaining that the exact number fluctuates every year.
“I wrote 100 of them, plus 42 more. I advertised for eight weeks over the summer, and I ended up with only 39 properties available.”
As colleges across the country reopen this week to students who missed out on a year and a half of college life, and freshmen embarking on this new phase of their lives, the housing shortage, and the cost of it, ci when it can be found puts them and their families under tremendous pressure.
A mother who pays € 350 a week for her daughter to share a room in a Limerick hotel with another student, whom she has yet to meet, told RTÉ News: “We are on all lists of waiting times, student accommodation, shared accommodation, etc. .
“Personally, I can’t maintain this on an ongoing basis. She has her dream place in college and is totally stressed out with nowhere to live.”
“The hotels can charge whatever they want, they know we have problems. It’s a five night stay – Sunday through Thursday. You have to leave the room Friday morning through Sunday evening, so you’re in. university with your suitcase on Friday morning. “
“Who can afford to keep their child in a hotel for the school year?