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Students call on University of Limerick to reverse decision to double-up bedrooms on campus

Rent for the twin rooms will range from €2,800 to €4,250 per person.
Feb 25th 2020, 10:27 AM 47,046 40

STUDENTS HAVE CALLED on the University of Limerick to reverse it decision to add a second bed to some of the single rooms in its accommodation.

The university told students at the end of last week that it was introducing a shared twin room option at its on-campus accommodation in an attempt to meet the demand for housing.

Rent for the twin rooms will range from €2,800 to €4,250 per person for the full academic year.

In a statement UL Student life said it is “appalled” at the situation and said the announcement came too late in the year to allow students time to find alternative arrangements for September. 

“It is very clear that there is not enough accommodation for students at the University of Limerick, with solutions such as the double up of rooms being proposed.

This solution does not solve the problem, as these rooms were never designed to be for two students. In addition to this it is very clear that both academic and support staff are under immense pressure to meet the demands of the growing numbers of students.  

UL Student life called on the university to stop all plans to increase the student population until adequate infrastructure and services are in place to cater for those currently enrolled. 

“All of this amounts to yet another barrier to higher education in Ireland.”

The university said the decision to double-up some rooms on campus was made “in an attempt to meet unprecedented demand in the shortest possible timeframe amid a national housing crisis”.

“Wider development plans are currently under consideration for new-build on-campus accommodation, however this will take some time to bring to fruition. The twin room option deals with the supply deficit while also providing an affordable option to many students,” it added. 

Last year, there was almost 7,200 applications from students for the 2,850 available beds in the six on-campus villages. The university said the twin room option will add a further 630 beds.

“In the past five years, UL has spent €20 million in refurbishment and upgrade costs across all of the on-campus accommodation villages. More than €2.4 million will be spent this year and next in further enhancements to existing accommodation services.”

UL said the option for sharing will be “significantly cheaper”, claiming it represents some of the cheapest on-campus accommodation in the country. 

Twin room costs will range from €2,800 to €4,250 per person, which includes utilities and UL Sport membership. Single semester accommodation for second and third year students will be available as a twin room option.

“A maximum of two bedrooms within an existing six-bedroom apartment in four of the villages will be retrofit for the shared accommodation (twin room) option. These will all be en-suite,” UL said.

“The planned twin room development is compliant with Part B of the Functional Requirements of Building Regulations. UL’s accommodation allocation policy will prioritise the most vulnerable students – incoming first year students, international students and those in final year.

“Some students have requested the twin room option, either because they want to room with a relative or friend, or because it is the most affordable option. A pilot programme has also run successfully.”

The university said 76% of students who responded to a survey last year said they were willing to share a room on campus at a cost of between €3,500 and €3,750. 

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Michelle Hennessy

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