23rd August 2019

Fianna Fáil spokesperson for Children and Youth Affairs, Anne Rabbitte, has flagged her concerns that students may be facing homelessness as their college year starts.

Deputy Rabbitte observed: 

We’ve seen students forced to sleep rough at the start of term for the last few years and we need to try and prevent it from happening again this year. A lot of student accommodation is sold out in advance and with such demand on housing around Galway generally, students face some stark options.

She continued:

Some students turn to hostels but they’re often fully booked due to the tourism season continuing, and then there’s the impact short term letting is having. Some students decide to take-on lengthy commutes, others crash at a friend’s house or in a car and some end up on the street. It’s appalling.

Deputy Rabbitte went on to say:

Galway City and County Councils need to make sure there are sufficient supports in place and need to be proactive, and not reactive when it comes to student homelessness. It’s a sad sight and a poor reflection of this government’s approach to tackling youth homelessness when you see students sleeping rough off Eyre Square.  According to the latest homelessness figures at the end of June, there were 44 homeless people aged 18-24 in the West, which covers Galway, Roscommon and Mayo.   Most of these were in Galway.

And she concluded:

This Fine Gael led government constantly reminds people about the importance of education but fails to put in place adequate supports for students, from grants to accommodation to fees. It’s not fair on students or their parents. Further investment in such supports are a must and should be considered when formulating the forthcoming budget.

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