Students need structural infrastructure in place for the best chance at success
Labour spokesperson on further and higher education Senator Annie Hoey expressed her best wishes to all students receiving a place in further and higher education institutions today. However, Senator Hoey cautioned that students must have certainty that they will be supported by government with adequate infrastructure in place.
Senator Hoey said:
“Today is hopefully a day of celebration of the hard work put in by our prospective students, however in many households it will be a day that comes with great anxiety about the future due to the lack of infrastructure in place for these students from housing to transport.
“Third level education, especially when it is distant from home, has moved out of reach for too many students because of rental costs, transport fares and the exorbitant costs of fees – now the highest in Europe.
“There is and always has been huge profiteering at the heart of the student accommodation crisis. There are a range of measures government can bring in to protect purpose built student accommodation, including backing Labour’s Planning and Development (Amendment) Bill 2021 which would stop developers using loop-holes in the planning legislation to convert student accommodation into apartments for tourists.
“Transport affordability and access remains a huge issue for students in terms of the cost of living, as well as having a crucial role to play in climate action. While the reduction in rates has eased some of the pressure, the reality is we will have more students commuting than ever before this year due to the accommodation crisis. At the Labour Party think-in in Wexford today, my colleague and Labour leader Ivana Bacik has called for a €9 monthly ticket for public transport nationwide to ease this burden and to encourage people to opt for public transport where possible.
“The student accommodation crisis is having the impact of pushing more and more students into commuting longer distances. Costs should not continue to be a barrier to accessing further and higher education. With the largest number of offers issued today than ever before, we need to see the Minister commit to addressing the concerns facing students and families this term.”