Labour supports USI walk-out
Labour spokesperson on Further and Higher Education, Senator Annie Hoey has today (Thursday 13th October) demanded immediate Government action on the escalating student accommodation crisis and the soaring cost-of-living for students.
Speaking following the walkout organised by the Union of Students in Ireland (USI), Senator Hoey said:
“Further and higher education is too important to be neglected by the Government and we have to say stop. Cost of living crisis crippling students and the accommodation crisis is as bad as ever. For months now, my office has been inundated with students and parents contacting us about the lack of affordable student accommodation available. My calls for action have fallen on deaf ears.
“Students are at the coal face of the rental crisis with many paying tens of thousands of euro a year in rent while trying to get their qualification. It is not right, fair or sustainable.
“Many students are facing a year of torturous commutes as there is simply not enough space for people to live near campus. We need to protect students in ‘digs’ accommodation and colleges to build strictly affordable student accommodation. The absolute lack of affordable student accommodation is unacceptable and the reality is that now many students are forced to choose between paying rent or putting food on the table.
“The reality is there is and always has been huge profiteering at the heart of the student accommodation crisis. There are a range of measures the 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.
“Further and higher education should be open to anyone who wants it, at any point in their life. Under this government’s approach to education this is simply not a reality. We should have a bigger ambition for students and for the sector.”