STUDENTS in Limerick are taking part in a mass walk-out this Thursday to protest the chronic lack of student accommodation in the city and county.
And they are calling on university staff to come out and join them.
The University of Limerick (UL) Postgraduate Student’s Union (PSU) has pledged its support for the planned national student walkout.
Among calls for improvements to the accommodation situation in the city, the PSU have provided a list of demands to the Government and university, which includes moves to protect renters, reduce rents, abolish the student contribution charge, further fund the higher education sector, and create a minimum wage to match living wage.
In a statement, the PSU said these demands address their “complete and utter lack of real action for students currently suffering as a result of the unavailability of affordable housing”.
Other participating groups in the national walkout include the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) and the Community Action Tenants Union(CATU).
ULPSU President Louis Pemble said: “Many students still have nowhere safe, stable, and affordable to call home. Students who have been lucky enough to find accommodation are facing extortionate rents and long commutes”.
“Rents in Limerick City have more than doubled since 2012 and are still increasing by 15 per cent annually – many times the maximum of two per cent in Rent Pressure Zones in place here.”
University of Limerick student and CATU member Tim Hannon said: “The University of Limerick purchased the Park Point complex, better known as the Travelodge, on the Dublin Road for €4.1m in 2016. Four floors remain unoccupied, these should be retrofitted into affordable student accommodation immediately.”
“The Government was warned that a wave of homelessness was coming but the Government decided to ignore the warnings rather than take any action. As a result, we have a student accommodation crisis the likes of which we’ve never really seen before.”