Third level students are facing a major shortage of accommodation nationally when the college year begins next month.
The lack of student accommodation in the Castlebar area, as students attending ATU - Castlebar campus seek a place to live is described as ‘scary at the moment’.
The shortage of rental properties, a scarcity of ‘digs’ accommodation, and a lack of dedicated student accommodation are all the reasons for the acute student accommodation shortage.
Formerly known as GMIT-Castlebar, ATU’s Castlebar campus has an enrolment of approximately 900 students.
Since attaining university status earlier this year as part of a merger with Sligo, Galway and Letterkenny ITs, the college has also been offering post-graduate courses.
Some students may now be unable to take up their courses or will be forced to commute long distances to attend ATU-Castlebar.
There is just one house available on the college’s dedicated student accommodation portal.
Yesterday (Monday) there were nine rental properties available in the Castlebar area listed on Daft.ie, ranging from €775 to €1,750 per month.
An apartment complex in Castlebar with over 100 beds, built as student accommodation, is also unavailable to students for this academic year.
The number of beds being used to accommodate Ukrainian refugees has also exacerbated the accommodation supply.
Castlebar Fine Gael councillor Ger Deere admits that as a local authority more should have been done by Mayo County Council to address the student accommodation crisis. The councillor had raised the issue at council level earlier this year, highlighting the need for additional accommodation as the Castlebar college secured University status, but he told Midwest News Editor Teresa O’Malley that the response has not been adequate..