On the 27th of February 2019, UCD students staged a tent protest after the accommodation cost was increased to 12% in the period of three years. For this academic year 2019/2020, it cost between €6,745 and €11,591 in rent for the two semesters.
President of the UCD Students’ Union, Joanna Siewierska, told TheJournal.ie how students are struggling to survive in college and that many of them have had to either return home or go to extreme measures to make sure they can continue their studies.
Let us look at the housing crisis and its effect on a student from another nationality. It is no doubt that the housing crisis is one of the major issue faced in Ireland especially in Dublin. Students from different countries come to Dublin to acquire a degree and are never aware of the housing crisis here, they are left to work to pay these outrageous bills and attending classes at the same time.
The root cause of the homeless crisis in Ireland is the broken housing system. Ireland does not have a public housing system to meet the needs of society. The provision of affordable public housing must form a key part of any country’s housing system.
According to Focus Ireland, there were 9,731 people homeless in the week of December 23 – 29 2019 across Ireland. However, this statistic does not include ‘hidden homelessness’ which are people who are living in squats or ‘sofa surfing’ with friends. In November 2019, the official rough sleeping count confirmed 92 people sleeping rough in Dublin, with an additional number in the Night Café, without a place to sleep.
Nonetheless, the number of immigrants keeps increasing each year. According to the Central Statistic Office, the number of immigrants to the State in the year to April 2019 is estimated to have decreased by 1.9% to 88,600 from 90,300 the previous year.
Over the past 15 years, Ireland as a whole has become more ethnically diverse due to the influx of students and refugees from other parts of the world. This is most apparent in the Dublin Region, with a foreign-born population that represents 20% of the total population.
In 2020, the Central Statistics Office predicts the Dublin Region will reach a population of 2.1 million by 2020, with Dublin City will have a population of 610,000. By 2031, the Dublin population could surpass 5 million. Yet there is no active action to tackle the housing crisis in the state.
On the 16th of November 2019, I did a short documentary on the housing crisis in Dublin and interviewed some international students on how the housing issue has affected them.
In one of the interview, Jane told us about her experience with a landlord who demanded for a sexual relationship with her before she can get a space. From her investigation she also realised that other female tenate had some sort of relationship with him all in the attempt to bid down the price of the rent. This is one of the hidden issues faced among female immigrants and yet the media do not talk about this.
DISCLAIMER: The name used in this post are fake to protect my interviewee