UL wins case against water charges at student accommodation

The main building at the University of Limerick.

UNIVERSITY of Limerick has won a High Court challenge against Uisce Éireann charging the institution for water used in students’ on-campus accommodation.

The university has welcomed the decision by Ms Justice Marguerite Bolger, who ruled that Uisce Éireann, previously Irish Water, was not entitled to charge for water provided to the university’s accommodation.

“We reluctantly sought a judicial review of an attempt by Uisce Éireann to reclassify our student accommodation leading to further and higher living costs on our students,” said UL President Professor Kerstin Mey.

“It is unfortunate that the proposal by UL to deal with this matter by way of the internal complaints process, rather than by way of legal action, was not progressed.

“We are now very pleased that Ms Justice Bolger has found that the supply of water by Uisce Éireann to UL’s student accommodation, during the academic year, is the provision of water services to a ‘dwelling’ and that UÉ is not entitled to charge for this supply.

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“We are already facing a student accommodation crisis in Ireland, which will likely persist for a number of years yet, and the advent of new utility costs on our students in their places of residence on campus is something we couldn’t countenance on their behalf,” Professor Mey said.

The case is regarded as significant for universities providing student accommodation.

It is understood the charges would have meant an annual cost of €106 per student, as utilities are part of the rental fee for accommodation.