Galway students would be "better off taking out a mortgage instead of renting in the current climate", with student rents in some areas of the city reaching up to €1,250 a month.
This is the view of the students' unions of both NUI Galway and the GMIT, who were reacting to new student accommodation in Galway city centre, with one location seeking rent of €200 a week, and another being advertised on the market at €250 a week.
According to Megan Reilly, president of the NUIG SU, students could be left in a situation where they have to pay up to €1,250 a month for one room in one apartment. "Some people wouldn’t even pay that on their mortgage monthly," she said. "At the other end of the spectrum we have students living in hostels or commuting hours to go to college because they can’t afford to live in Galway."
Aaron Burke, president of the GMIT SU, pointed out that the rate of the student grant has not increased since 2012, while rental prices have increased year on year for the last six years. "Students are not cash cows and this can bring extreme pressure on both parents and students," he said, "especially when people are struggling to stay in college."
Both unions, along with the One Galway Movement, are planning a 'Crisis Campout' in Eyre Square on Tuesday September 11 to highlight what the organisations call "the need for purpose built student housing and social housing in general".