Council Backs Motion Branding UL Accommodation Changes “Violation Of Students’ Privacy”

Clare Councillors have backed a motion which states that planned changes to on-campus accommodation at the University of Limerick amount to a violation of students’ rights to privacy.

UL is planning to convert a number of bedrooms in their on campus bedrooms from single rooms to twin rooms, in a move that’s strongly opposed by its Students Union.

The University, which has increased its footprint on the Clare side of the River Shannon over recent years, says it’s looking to “meet unprecedented demand for accommodation… amid a national housing crisis.”

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But Barefield Independent Councillor Ann Norton says it’s not good enough.

UL Statement

A shared (twin room) option in University of Limerick’s on-campus accommodation is being introduced in an attempt to meet unprecedented demand in the shortest possible timeframe amid a national housing crisis.

Wider development plans are currently under consideration for new-build on-campus accommodation, however this will take some time to bring to fruition. The twin room option deals with the supply deficit while also providing an affordable option to many students.

Last year, there was almost 7,200 applications from students for the 2,850 available beds in the six on-campus villages. The twin room option will add a further 630 beds.

In the past five years, UL has spent €20 million in refurbishment and upgrade costs across all of the on-campus accommodation villages. More than €2.4m will be spent this year and next in further enhancements to existing accommodation services.

The option for twin (sharing) will be significantly cheaper – in some cases up to 45% cheaper – and offer a reduced price point for on-campus accommodation that has not previously existed. It will also represent some of the cheapest on-campus accommodation in the country.

Twin room costs will range from €2,800 to €4,250 per person, which includes utilities and UL Sport membership.

A maximum of two bedrooms within an existing six-bedroom apartment in four of the villages will be retrofit for the shared accommodation (twin room) option. These will all be en-suite.

The planned twin room development is compliant with Part B of the Functional Requirements of Building Regulations.

UL’s accommodation allocation policy will prioritise the most vulnerable students – incoming first year students, international students and those in final year.

Some students have requested the twin room option, either because they want to room with a relative or friend, or because it is the most affordable option. A pilot programme has also run successfully.

In a Student Accommodation survey completed in 2019, 76% of students who responded (1,323 in total) said that they were willing to share a room on campus at a cost of between €3,500 and €3,750.

Single semester accommodation for second and third year students will be available as a twin room option.