By Caoimhe Killeen
A company responsible for providing student accommodation for NUI Galway has recorded profits of approximately €460,000 – double the amount earned in the year prior.,
Atalia Student Residences DAC (Designated Activity Company) is solely owned by NUI Galway, and are responsible for providing the on-campus 764-bed Corrib Village apartment complex, as well as the 429-bed Goldcrest Village to hundreds of students every year.
Accounts that were filed for the year ended August 31st, 2018 with the Companies Registration Office confirm that the NUI Galway–run company made a profit of approximately €463,212, which is a significant increase on the €230,597 that was recorded from the previous year.
The fixed assets in the accounts, including office equipment, plants and machinery, as well as fixtures and fitting, are valued at €1.127 million, with current assets being priced at €6.4 million.
The accounts take into consideration the other services the company provides for NUI Galway. Atalia Student Residences are also in charge of overseeing marketing services for conference services and facilities on behalf of the University.
Both Corrib Village and Goldcrest are also used outside of the academic year as accommodation for conference delegates, with Corrib Village being used as a short-term holiday let for tourists in the summer.
The payable amounts by the company also totalled to 6.4 million, with “cash and cash equivalents” of 5.6 million. The overall profit for 2018 before tax was applied totalled to €644,109. The total operating profit for the company (after charging deprecation costs) came to a total of €448,169.
The costs included rent paid to NUI Galway for its services, with the figure amounting to just over €2.25 million in 2018.
Additionally, the rent paid by a student for a single en– suite bedroom in Corrib Village for the academic year amounts to €5,775, with the cost for a room in Goldcrest Village amounting €6,500.
Rising costs of accommodation are a long running bone of contention among NUI Galway Students, who gained widespread media attention in 2018 for their protests against rent hikes in Cúirt na Coiribe.
Sharon Bailey, Bursar at NUI Galway, states that following the opening of Goldcrest Village in 2018 “Turnover in the University subsidiary company responsible for managing operations, Atalia Student Residences DAC, increased, however, profits did not, as these new residences were founded through a European investment bank loan which requires significant annual repayments.”
Brandon Walsh, Vice-President of the NUI Galway Students’ Union and Welfare and Equality Officer, criticised developers’ apparent focus on the creation of luxury, costly student accommodation, telling SIN; “This notion by the developers and the people that own these companies of this luxury student accommodation is ridiculous. The rent prices are astronomical. Students need somewhere they can sleep, they can sleep, they can study, they can wash and eat”.
He continued; “They don’t need this ridiculous luxury student accommodation, they want somewhere that is suitable, purpose-built for students and affordable. And that’s not what is happening right now, so we really need to push for custom-built accommodation”.
He also adds that lobbying is the best way to ensure that these needs are met. “The more that we push and have our voices heard, especially with the upcoming general election, making sure that student voices are pushed to the forefront of everything, and especially in areas like Galway, Cork and Dublin, that are affected hugely by the housing crisis”.