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04 Dec 2021

Answers sought from UL over student accommodation crisis and reduction in private car use

The Public Accounts Committee has requested that UL president Dr Des Fitzgerald updates them on current position of staff

The Living Bridge at UL

THE University of Limerick is being urged to engage with elected members of Limerick City and County regarding its plans to deal with the student accommodation crisis and to reduce the use of private cars within its staff and student population.

At their monthly meeting, members of the Metropolitan District passed a number of different motions requesting that UL be asked to send representatives to upcoming meetings of three different Strategic Policy Committees - the Travel and Transportation SPC; the Economic Development, Enterprise and Planning SPC and the Home and Social Development SPC.

Cllr Sean Hartigan, who is seeking a report into UL's plans to reduce car use has also asked for details of actions currently being taken by UL to "provide parking for existing staff and student cars to prevent overflow to the surrounding neighbourhood", including private homes and businesses.

A motion, proposed by Cllr Elena Secas, calls for UL to report on its plans to "alleviate the current student accommodation crisis given the plans to further increase numbers year-on-year".

All three motions were passed without a vote and formal invitations will now be sent.

Following the meeting, a spokesperson for UL, told the Limerick Leader it is "happy to engage" with various stakeholders to address any issues of concern.

"Demand for student accommodation is at its highest in recent memory, which has been exacerbated by a national housing shortage, a pattern of private landlords leaving the student rental market and a drop in ‘digs and homestay’ type accommodation as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic," said the spokesperson who added that UL provides the largest percentage of on campus accommodation per student population in Ireland.

UL says it continues to work together with government and its partners in Limerick and the wider sector nationally to develop more long-term plans for student accommodation in Limerick.

Regarding the use of private cars by staff and students, the spokesperson said: "The University of Limerick is a smarter travel campus: with the support of Limerick Smarter Travel, the University is committed to the promotion of sustainable modes of travel."

It's unclear if UL will send representatives to all three SPC meetings or if a special meeting will be arranged.

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