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Government Unveils Ambitious Student Accommodation Policy with €61 Million Initial Investment

Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris is set to present a comprehensive government policy on student accommodation to the Cabinet. The initiative outlines three key areas of focus: the construction of on-campus housing, repurposing vacant properties, and ongoing support for homeowners renting rooms to students.

The initial phase involves activating existing planning permissions secured by universities, facilitating the development of up to 1,000 student beds across Maynooth University, University of Limerick, and University of Galway, backed by a €61 million government funding approval. UCD, Trinity College Dublin, and DCU are slated for future engagement.

In a unique approach, the government stipulates that, in exchange for funding, a percentage of beds must be offered at reduced rates to disadvantaged students, aligning with their household income. The policy’s subsequent phases aim to extend accommodation projects to regions, alleviating student competition for private rentals. State funding will support the construction of student housing, with an annual grant of €20 million to €40 million for repurposing unoccupied buildings.

Government Chief Whip Hildegarde Naughton will outline the legislative agenda, prioritising legislation granting tenants the first right to purchase their rented property, the use of facial recognition technology by Gardaí, alcohol sale and consumption law amendments, and reforms to the penalty points system.

Minister for Arts Catherine Martin and Minister for Enterprise Simon Coveney will seek Cabinet approval for a plan supporting Ireland’s digital creative industries from 2024 to 2026. The strategy targets education and training, financial support for small businesses, and the establishment of bases in regional areas for digital games, mobile app content, and emerging technologies like augmented reality and virtual reality.

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