A UCD student was recently stuck with no heating for several months in his on-campus accommodation, The College Tribune has learned. Caillum Hedderman, from Limerick, spoke to us and to DublinLive about his experiences living in UCD Village.
In his interview, Caillum informed DublinLive that his heating was broken for a 5 month period. A first year student, he feels he is lucky to have the accommodation in the first place, but notes that it has come at a serious financial cost.
“I was lucky enough to get campus but I’ve been working the last couple of years to save up and my savings have definitely been hit by moving to Dublin.”
He continued, “The rooms are overly expensive but I consider myself one of the lucky ones even though it’s a crazy position to be in saying that I’m paying over €1,000 a month for a bedroom, bathroom and shared kitchen.
“The big issue is that there isn’t government support for young people and poverty levels that are rising among students.
“Students are missing meals because they’re struggling to make rent and a lot of my friends from home decided not to go to college this year because they didn’t have enough money to move out.
We asked Caillum when he first brought the issue to the attention of staff in UCD. He informed us that he raised the issue in December, after having lived without heating for 5 months. After the article was published by DublinLive, Caillum told us, it was resolved “as a matter of urgency”. In terms of compensation, he continued, nothing was offered, nor did UCD Residences provide him with an alternative form of heating. After contacting the SU, President Ruairí Power gave him a space heater whilst he awaited maintenance.
Another student, Jack McGee, spoke of his experience with UCD accommodation. As an international student, Jack has had no choice but to rent during the course of his studies. Whilst living in the Glenomena accommodation in first year, he experienced a bedbug outbreak in his flat. Upon reporting the incident, he waited an entire semester for relocation to a temporary room; at this stage, he told us, the infestation was so severe that it took another month and several treatments before the room was habitable again. All of this was despite him showing pictures of the outbreak, as well as the bites on his arms:
“The bites were so bad at the beginning that the UCD doctor thought I had an infection.”
In terms of compensation, Jack told us, UCD covered his dry cleaning fees.
The current cheapest rental accommodation available in UCD is €754.26 per month, in the Blackrock Halls accommodation. On average, however, students can expect to pay €1,055.48 monthly. In light of this high rent, low quality dilemma, Caillum left us with the following message:
“It’s so important that residents are aware of their rights and abilities. Make yourself aware of how to send a maintenance request. If you’re as frustrated as I am, along with other students, with the service provided for the price we are paying, make sure to get involved with the SU and make sure our voices are heard.”
The College Tribune has contacted UCD Communications for comment on the matter.
Rosie Roberts Kuntz – Assistant News Editor.