A number of Limerick students have been forced to lock themselves in hotels due to the lack of student accommodation in the city and its suburbs.
Students, including some who have traveled from overseas to study in Treaty City, say the government and universities need to step up efforts to address the housing crisis and meet the demand for affordable and suitable housing.
An international student who flew to Limerick on September 5 for a course at the University of Limerick (UL) on September 6, and who stayed in a city center hotel, said he wanted to “highlight the shocking state of the homeless. Among Limerick’s student body.
They pay € 370 per week in “a city center hotel”, due to the “chronic shortage” of housing in town and on campus, and fear this will have a long-term impact on their studies.
They complained that they could not open an Irish bank account or apply for student travel or discount cards because they “do not have a stable address”.
They declared that they “had appealed to the president of the university to help them (…)
The student said that when seeking advice from UL, he was told ‘we must continue to be on a waiting list for on-campus accommodation with no deadline to find out the outcome and continue to search for sites. Local Rental Web ”.
The student said they had been contacting the owners for weeks about potential visits or places to stay, but they had not yet had any success.
“To make matters worse, they are welcoming more students from Monday September 13th. We do not know where these students will be accommodated, ”they added.
UL has invested in 2,800 rooms in seven residential villages on campus with “something for everyone,” its website says.
The UL website informs students that finding accommodation is “extremely important”.
The website announced that applications for the housing lottery for “OAC incoming freshman” for the 2021/2022 academic year closed on March 31 of this year.
“Those who did not pass the lottery were automatically placed on our waiting list. If we receive cancellations, rooms will be offered to this waiting list by drawing lots. Please note that we do not guarantee that you will be offered a room, ”states the notice.
The website added that students who had not applied for the lottery could “register and apply for a secondary waiting list on September 7, 2021”.
Students are repeatedly informed on the website that the university cannot guarantee that students will be offered a room under the lottery system.
UL has been requested to respond.
However, other colleges are also affected.
Ryan Parsons from Cork is returning to the University of Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT) as a mature student and has been looking for accommodation for over two months.
“I was even fortunate enough to have a visit for this particular room, as over 250 emails came in from people requesting a visit,” he said.
The 28-year-old, who studies music and sound technology at LIT, has not yet been given a schedule for his course, adding to uncertainty as to whether or not it will be possible for him. to commute.
“I have to start university on September 28, but no itinerary has been given, we are totally in the dark. If I were in two days a week, I would almost commute from Cork to Limerick.
“I was hoping to get rid of my car because it’s just one more expense, but I’m going to have to hold on to it until I can try to sort the accommodations.
“Going to university is certainly not ideal, it’s three extra hours of travel a day, between work at the university and work, you would be ruined above all,” he said. .
Meanwhile, students at Mary Immaculate College have struck a deal with three hotels in the city of Limerick to accommodate some of its students for a weekly fee of up to € 390, according to RTÉ.
The teacher training institute said it was the first time it had to do it for returning students after summer break, and that it had struck a similar deal with a hotel in Thurles, in County Tipperary, where it has a smaller campus.
In a statement to RTÉ, the college said the situation was “not ideal” but had no other option.
He said a key factor was distance learning due to the Covid-19 pandemic, that many students had not rented accommodation and, in the meantime, many houses that were previously available for the students had been withdrawn from the market by others.