Student Accommodation in Waterford

Student Accommodation in Waterford

Question to the Minister in the Dáil on Student Accommodation

Full Transcript: The Minister will not be surprised to see me coming in on this. He rightly referenced that Waterford has built on-campus student accommodation. There has been welcome Government interventions on student accommodation, particularly in the case of technological universities, which will be allowed to borrow in order to fund student accommodation for the first time. However, it means we are a little behind. The pipeline the Minister referenced consists wholly of universities that are in train. In the context of South East Technological University, and, I am sure, ATU and Technological University of the Shannon, we want to see increased numbers of students coming on campus. To allow that to happen, which we need to increase the amount of accommodation available. In my constituency, constructing purpose-built accommodation and expanding the footprint into the campus will be pivotal.

Deputy Simon Harris

I agree fully with both Deputies. I assure Deputy Dillon that the structured approach makes sense. If there are synergies and we know there is a model that can work for the technological university and get things moving, let us not waste time coming up with a load of different models. You notice when you drive around the country, many new schools are beginning to look the same. That is because the Department of Education got it right and that saves time in the roll-out. Nothing is off the table in terms of the modality used. In Galway, for example, they will be long-term renting some; in Maynooth, they will be direct building. It will be whatever it takes to increase supply with affordability being a key ask and interest of ours.

On Deputy Ó Cathasaigh’s point, I met all the chairs of the technological universities in Leinster House in the last month. The chair of the South East Technological University was there. I said to him – and I am sure he will not mind me sharing this – that I want him to keep me under pressure, to say they have all these student accommodation projects in technological universities ready to rock and ask why we have not funded it yet. We are not at that point yet. I have said clearly to others we need them coming up with plans and demanding the Government funds them. We will not be found wanting in helping to get them off the ground but we need the planning to be done first. The reason the universities are going first is not a preference for them, but that they have the planning. We need the plans in place and the €1 million is about trying to enable that.