The Government’s flagship housing policy, Housing for All, launched last month by Minister Darragh O’Brien will be of benefit in providing student accommodation in Tipperary, according to local T.D. Jackie Cahill. The comprehensive and ambitious state housing policy also contains plans to allow Technological Universities to borrow from the Housing Finance Agency in order to develop purpose-built student accommodation.
Speaking, after meeting with Minister Harris this week in the Dáil, Deputy Cahill said: “The increasing demand for student accommodation in Tipperary is placing further demands on the already starched property market in the county. We have third-level students in Thurles and Clonmel who are competing for properties with working people and families and it is only adding fuel to the fire.
“I raised this with Minister Harris again this week when we met in the Dáil, as well as when he visited the constituency last August.
“Mary Immaculate has exciting plans to seriously develop the St Patrick’s campus, and part of that involves the development of purpose-built student accommodation. The developmental potential of the campus has been further enhanced even since Minister Harris’ visit, now that we have secured the inclusion of the Thurles inner-relief road in the National Development Plan; as this will allow for the construction of a brand-new main entrance into the campus from the new road.
“In response to Parliamentary Questions that I recently put down, Minister Harris has informed me that he is working with Fianna Fáil Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien to deliver student accommodation and reduce pressures on the private market. This would be of particular benefit for Thurles and Clonmel and I will be pressing that both ministers focus on this area.
In Minister Harris’ response to Deputy Cahill, the Higher Education Minister said: “The Government’s Housing for All plan contains a specific commitment to support TUs in their ambitions to develop purpose-built student accommodation, where such a requirement exists, through access to appropriate financing. Housing for All includes a specific action to legislate for Technological Universities to be allowed borrow from the Housing Finance Agency.”
Deputy Cahill believes that this could be of major benefit for Thurles and Clonmel, saying: “We knew that Technological University status was going to completely enhance the educational opportunities available in the county and this news was warmly welcomed. But now, under Housing for All, we have the opportunity to tackle the student accommodation problems in the county through access to funding that our two universities in Tipperary can access.
“I will continue to work with Ministers O’Brien and Harris to see both the St Patrick’s and TUS campuses developed for student accommodation in Thurles and Clonmel”, Cahill concluded.