A plan has been proposed to add 257 bedrooms to a lot in Terryland which had already been approved for further student accommodation.
While this is a positive sign for students, many locals have voiced their objections to the new addition.
The housing crisis in Galway City has been a constant frustration for many, especially students, as they struggle to find housing.
This is why the plan to increase the size of the student accommodation, which has already been approved by Galway City Council, is a very much-needed addition.
Stated by the Connacht Tribune, the accommodation is set to be located beside the Crestwood estate on Coolough Road.
There were originally supposed to be 248 single bedrooms, however with the new plan, there would be an addition of nine rooms, a raised height on one of the 37 blocks, increased parking and accessible apartments, to name a few changes.
However, for local residents, these changes are of great concern.
Recently, 18 objections have been submitted over the project, including by the Crestwood Resident’s Association.
A reason cited was that the neighborhood is comprised primarily of bungalows, two-story houses and family homes. Locals stated how “the development would be ‘completely out of character’ with its surroundings and could lead to antisocial behavior” described by the Connacht Tribune.
While these concerns are valid, for students, it is the least of their concerns. As the number of new students increases each year, the lack of affordable housing grows more and more dire.
The creation of the 257 new beds brings hope for students and could be of great importance to the University of Galway.
More students would have access to higher education, and it could offer further stability to all students, Irish and international, who do not always have the luxury to travel home easily if accommodation fails to be found.
However, this can only be achieved through affordable housing because the creation of the new student accommodation is meaningless if the average person cannot afford the price.
A survey taken in September 2023 about accommodation within Galway, saw over 2,000 students responding.
It described how out of all of the respondents, there were “over 600 students who don’t have suitable permanent accommodation” and “those students range from people that are sleeping on friends’ couches, staying in hostels or commuting more than half an hour each way from college.”
Even with the new on-campus accommodation: Dunlin Village and Goldcrest Village, it is still not enough. The going rates are at almost 10,000 euros for luxury apartments which students coming from disadvantaged backgrounds and the average student or family cannot afford to pay.
Third level education is already a privilege in itself to receive and with the exorbitant fees, for many, university education has become unattainable.
In 2023, it was released to the Connacht Tribune that there was an 11% dropout rate, three per cent higher than during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic.
In response to the ongoing crisis, there have been many demonstrations, such as the sleep-out which took place in September.
Hosted by the University of Galway Students’ Union, students took to the street, sleeping overnight in Eyre Square to protest the homelessness problem among third-level students.
But the question remains: why should students have to protest in the first place?
If priced reasonably, the new accommodation could offer a sense of relief for many students at the University of Galway.
Coming from near and far, every student deserves an equal opportunity education, no matter the cost.