MU among first to build student accommodation under national strategy

MU President Eeva Leinonen with government ministers at the unveiling of plans for student accommodation
Friday, January 19, 2024 - 15:30

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris was today joined by ministerial colleagues and university presidents to unveil plans for more than 500 student accommodation beds at Maynooth University and DCU.

The event at DCU was attended by the President of Maynooth University, Professor Eeva Leinonen, and DCU President, Professor Dáire Keogh.

Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien and Minister for Public Expenditure, National Development Plan Delivery and Reform Paschal Donohoe also attended to welcome a Government agreement on a new long-term policy to develop student accommodation.

Maynooth University is developing 116 bed purpose-built student accommodation at a site at Buckley House adjacent to the campus, which is expected to be available for the 2025/26 academic year.

This project had been delayed due to the pandemic, however, Government support has enabled its activation, through funding and the provision of financial support at a reduced rate to SUSI grant holders.

The new apartments feature a single ensuite bedroom and study space, communal kitchens and meeting spaces to enhance cost-effectiveness and affordability.

Professor Leinonen has noted that the provision of student accommodation is an important element of the campus and student experience, and the University aims to continue to expand accommodation in future years.

“Maynooth University is pleased to commence construction of student accommodation as part of this national strategy. Our consistent engagement with the government to support student accommodation has been beneficial and aligns with our commitment to enhance the student experience,” she said.

“This strategic focus not only supports the academic experience but also fosters the holistic development of our student community. We anticipate the lasting impact of this effort on our university and, most importantly, on our students' lives. We look forward to future governmental policies and funding to address the national shortage in student accommodation.”

The Ministers also outlined details of the policy under the Government’s Housing for All policy, as they viewed plans for new student accommodation at MU and DCU.

Under this new policy, the Government will fund the construction of purpose-built student accommodation and vacant properties on college lands will be repurposed into housing for students.

Funding is being provided on the basis that a portion of beds will be ring-fenced for disadvantaged students. The cost of construction and pace of delivery will be reduced through standardised design.

Additionally, there are plans for improved public transport to be explored for students. The Government will continue to support the digs scheme and local authority and medical card changes will come into effect.

Speaking today, Minister Harris said: “I am delighted to confirm Government has agreed a long-term policy on student accommodation.

“This policy will help increase the supply of student housing in campuses across the country but will also help prevent students competing with families for private rental accommodation.”

Photo from Maxwell Photography