Ireland’s housing crisis is so bad that a student from Donegal has been forced to defer her place in college for a year.
Caitlin-Faye Maniti hoped to study at Maynooth University and began looking for accommodation even before she sat her Leaving Certificate.
However, such is the shortage of affordable accommodation in and around the Kildare town, she has reluctantly decided to take a gap year:
“Going into it, we didn’t really understand the pressure and the craziness of the accommodation crisis,” she explained to The Hard Shoulder.
“So it came as quite a shock to us. We were under a lot of pressure.”
While there were places available, they were all just “crazy expensive”.
“The options that were presented to me were a dig for over €1,000 per month,” she continued.
“And not only was it not close to campus, I would still need to commute at least 40 minute train to campus.
“Another option was a BnB for three days a week and I would have to commute back up to Donegal - that’s a four hour bus drive every weekend - and it was just not viable for me.”
A lack of accommodation has been cited as a key reason for many college deferrals but Higher Education Minister Simon Harris said the current rate has not changed significantly.
“I fully accept that housing is an issue but the figures available to me suggest that the deferral rate overall in higher education is in line with previous years,” he told Newstalk.
Adding that, “We want to get extremely serious about building affordable on-campus student accommodation.”
He suggested students ask their university for help:
“I am not suggesting it is a perfect system but I do know it is a system that is finding solutions for thousands of students as we speak,” he added.
“When I hear of students saying I can’t find anywhere on Daft or these other websites, I accept that, but I also say go to the student portal website and there is assistance there.”
Main image: Maynooth University.