Andrew Deeks and Ruairí Power clash at L&H Debate

Image Credit: Odin O'Sullivan

While Deeks was not a participant in the debate, Power took the opportunity to take aim at the three step masterplan for accommodation in UCD

Earlier tonight, the Literary & Historical (L&H) society hosted a debate on the effects of the Government's housing policy on students. UCD President Andrew Deeks was invited to give opening remarks and to give "background" to the debate.

Deeks, who is also president of the L&H, described his own experience of being unable to live in student accommodation during his student days in Perth, commenting "At that time student accommodation was very expensive, so some things don't change". Deeks went on to describe how in Durham, where Deeks has previously worked as Pro-Vice Chancellor in Durham University, students often find the rents high due to low supply but that "then the investors move in...and then there is a glutt of the price goes down...Over time the price balances out".

Deeks went on to describe the progress so far of the three step Master plan for housing in UCD, and some of the difficulties faced by the plan, such as the affect Covid-19 has had on the building market.

UCDSU President Ruairí Power, who was participating in the debate as the opening speaker on the proposition side, took a moment in his speech to describe the first two steps of the Master plan as "elitist", adding that "not a red cent should be spent on luxury, elitist accomodation".

The two Presidents also butted heads over the turn out to the "Fix Our Education" protests in 2019, where Power was a prominent figure. Deeks suggested that "around 60" students attended these protests. During his speech, Power suggested Deeks speak to the maths support centre. At the time, The University Observer reported 150 attendees at the largest of these rallies.

The University Observer understands that President Deeks declined an invitation to participate in the debate as a participant. It is also understood that several politicians from government parties declined invitations to participate.

Martha Reidy and Lizett Polli also spoke on proposition, and Darragh Moran, Adam O'Leary, and Eli Byrne spoke on opposition. The motion was overwhelmingly carried.