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GMIT and NUI Galway Students’ Union Reject ‘Not In My Backyard’ Attitude To Student Accommodation From Galway Residents

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GMIT and NUI Galway Students’ Union Reject ‘Not In My Backyard’ Attitude To Student Accommodation From Galway Residents

GMIT Students’ Union and NUI Galway Students’ Union today reject local resident and councillors opposition to the development of high end student accommodation in Galway. The resistance comes as plans to replace the Westwood Hotel with 400 beds for students have been met with heated opposition from 200 Newcastle and Dangan residents with support from local councillors.

GMIT Students’ Union Mark O’Brien stated, “The language used by residents that there shouldn’t be student accommodation in ‘our estates’ is a classic example of Not In My Backyard. Students have proven themselves to be valuable assets to any local community, and contribute to the local economy everyday. We feel that councillors jumping in on this discriminatory blockade should have heard all sides of the story first. We have an accommodation crisis spreading through families, students and other groups with rents going through the roof. This number of beds will alleviate the pressure from the 20,000 students in GMIT and NUI Galway scrambling for somewhere to sleep.”

NUI Galway Students’ Union President Lorcán Ó Maoileannaigh went on to say, “A few years ago redevelopment and increasing capacity of Trinity Hall in Rathgar was met with resistance of the local community protesting against over-concentration of students in that area. Today, the Hall that accommodates 1,000 students is well integrated into community and offers student housing in a convenient location. Diverse and well-balanced local communities have a great potential for regeneration, civic activities and engagement.”

President of the Union of Students in Ireland, Michael Kerrigan, commented, “With the integrated national approach to student accommodation reflected in regional policies, we believe that both the Council and An Bord Pleanála have been equipped with tools to ensure balanced development of the communities and take a strategic approach to spatial distribution and concentration of particular social groups, particularly students, who are particularly vulnerable group facing the housing crisis.”

The National Student Accommodation Strategy published in July identifies the importance of providing dedicated and additional student accommodation to avoid putting additional pressures on the private rental sector, particularly in and around the many universities and third-level institutions in urban areas, and puts actions in place to end the shortage. The Union of Students in Ireland have indicated concern with pockets of residents looking to prevent student accommodation being constructed in local areas, and urge residents to be mindful of damaging stereotypes of students.

Advantages of BER for students

ADVANTAGES OF BER FOR STUDENTS

Advantages of BER for students

From 1st January 2009, a BER (Building Energy Rating) Certificate is compulsory for all houses or apartments being offered to rent. This has significant implications for students.

Main advantages of BER for students

  1. Improved tenant comfort
    (A B2-rated house will be much easier to heat in December than an F-rated house and there will be less chance of mould growth or condensation)
  2. Reduced running costs for the year
    (A better rated house will have lower heating and electricity bils)
  3. Better for the environment
    (A better energy rating means lower CO2 emissions that cause climate change, less fossil fuel consumption, less pollution)Other advantages:
  4. Landlords are legally obliged to have a BER for any property they are renting
    (Ensure landlords comply and do their bit for the environment)
  5. Promotes local job creation
    (Many construction jobs could be created in upgrading the current energy inefficicent housing stock)
  6. Reduces potential impact of Carbon taxes on fuel bills
    (Carbon taxes may be introduced in the next budget)
  7. Less money leaves the Irish economy
    (Energy efficiency reduces imported oil and gas, Kyoto fines etc.)

For more info go to www.sei.ie