UCD Students Union joined thousands of others at a major housing protest outside Dáil Eireann today, to coincide with a private members motion calling on the Government to declare a ‘housing emergency’ across Ireland. Trade Unions, The Union of Students in Ireland, political parties, housing activist groups along with students unions all marched together to protest the housing crisis.
The march which started in the Garden of Remembrance and ended at Molesworth Street saw calls for various measures in the upcoming budget to tackle the ongoing housing crisis, including rent caps, increased public expenditure on social and affordable housing alongside an end to evictions until the housing crisis was resolved.
UCDSU was represented by the full sabbatical team and nearly 70 students. UCD SU President said in comments to the Tribune that they were calling for government legislation around ‘digs accommodation’ and also called for them to bring student accommodations licensing agreements under the Rental Tenancy Board rules.
Students unions also highlighted how the high cost of living was impacting the ability of students to attend college in the first place. The chant ‘no home, no education’ was frequently used by the unions to highlight this point.
A separate protest by the Take Back the City movement took place after the main protest had ended, and resulted in a sit in outside the Department of the Taoiseach. More than 100 people gathered outside the gates of the Department to demand action and calling for the removal of Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy for his perceived failure to tackle the housing crisis. The sit in heard from numerous people affected by the housing crisis including a father of two young children who spoke of his mistreatment at a emergency accommodation site.
The USI was also criticised by the Take Back the City movement for its recent support of ‘digs’ accommodation which has no protection from the Rental Tenancy Board’. Take Back the City said at the sit in that the USI should be seeking more radical solutions to the housing crisis for students. USI in their pre-budget submissions called for over 29,000 extra beds to be made available for student accommodation and is also seeking legislation to protect students in ‘digs’ accommodation.
By Aaron Bowman – CoEditor