Government commits to working with UL to fund student accommodation projects

The main building at the University of Limerick.

THE GOVERNMENT has announced that it will work with the University of Limerick (UL) to develop more purpose built student accommodation.

The announcement was made on Friday (January 19) as the government’s long-term policy to deliver student accommodation was published.

Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris, Minister for Housing, Local Government, and Heritage Darragh O’Brien, and Minister for Public Expenditure Pascal Donoghue unveiled plans that will see the government fund the delivery of purpose-built student accommodation, with an agreement that a portion of the bed spaces delivered will be ring-fenced for disadvantaged students.

UL among a number of universities that the government has committed to working with, as they have secured approval in principal for further investment.

Also as part of the policy, vacant housing will be repurposed for student accommodation, including vacant properties on college-owned lands, reducing construction costs, and exploring improved public transport for students.

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A call will also go out for technological universities to submit proposals for accommodation projects.

Speaking at the launch of the plan, Minister Simon Harris said: “I am delighted to confirm government has agreed a long-term policy on student accommodation.”

“This policy will help increase the supply of student housing in campuses across the country but will also help prevent students competing with families for private rental accommodation,” he said.

“This vision and policy will inform a new Student Accommodation Strategy, which will be published later this year,” Minister Harris concluded.

Minister O’Brien added that “supply is key to addressing our housing needs and thankfully it continues to increase. We have a robust stock of new homes in the pipeline as evidence by yesterday’s record-breaking commencement figures.”

The Housing Minster said that the “announcement points to even more supply and is the result of close collaboration across government”.

“We know that for every student space that is created it helps to ease the pressure in the private rental market and both I and my department will work with Minister Harris and his department in significantly scaling up this supply.”