SU President calls for Ministry of Housing at Cabinet level

UCD Students' Union President Marcus O'Halloran has called on newly elected Dáil TDs to support a Ministry of Housing at cabinet level.In an email sent to all Dáil TDs today, O'Halloran echoed calls made last week by the Simon Community for a Senior Minister for Housing to address the housing and homelessness crisis in Ireland. O'Halloran described students as being "between a rock and a hard place" when it comes to housing."As a student representative, I would strongly urge you to support this reform," wrote O'Halloran. "It has never been as expensive to rent in Dublin as it is now. According to reports on market supply and price trend, rates are higher today than they were in 2007 during the property boom. Areas traditionally rented by UCD students have seen the sharpest rises over the last 5 years. A place in Ranelagh, Rathgar, Rathmines & Clonskeagh is up to 30% more expensive than in 2011."O'Halloran also mentioned that campus accommodation is "woefully underdeveloped", saying that "Universities are increasing prices for student residences in order to fund badly needed building activity. Alternative sources of investment, as set out in HEA reports, are not being explored." UCD SU have campaigned for UCD to freeze prices for campus accommodation.  In Budget 2016 the then government parties included a provision for 20,000 additional houses nationwide, 90 per cent of which are due to be built in Dublin. O'Halloran has previously called on government officials to respond to the student housing crisis, and was in contact with Minister Alan Kelly and Tánaiste Joan Burton during the first semester of this year.