A Donegal student attending Maynooth University has been told by her landlord that half her double bed is going to be rented out for 25 euro a night, it has been claimed.
The student made the shocking claims to Highland Radio journalist Greg Hughes. She has been told she has to share her double bed in the room she is renting with a stranger, Hughes said. He shared the student’s bombshell claims yesterday, as Ireland’s student accommodation shortage continues to leave many young people in dire straits:
A Donegal student attending Maynooth has been told by her landlord that half her double bed is going to be rented out for 25 euro a night. She's been told she has to share her double bed in the room she is renting with a stranger. @SimonHarrisTD @DarraghOBrienTD @highlandradio
— Greg Hughes (@GregHughes2) September 29, 2022
The claims were described as “staggering”, with many people responding on social media by tagging Government Ministers including Minister for Further and Higher Education, Simon Harris, and Minister for Housing, Darragh O’Brien.
Sharing their views on how unpleasant such a situation would be, one person tweeted in response: “This is unreal. I once had to share a room with a fellow colleague I didn’t know and it was awful to say the least. Wouldn’t dream of it now…”
This is unreal. I once had to share a room with a fellow colleague I didn't know and it was awful to say the least. Wouldn't dream of it now…
— Frances Wilson (@fmwgrindel) September 29, 2022
Some shocked Twitter users questioned whether the “unbelievable” assertion could really be true, but one person said the situation wasn’t all that hard for students to believe, tweeting:
“I love how loads are calling this out as fake but anyone ive shown it from Maynooth is just like yeah sounds about right”.
I love how loads are calling this out as fake but anyone ive shown it from Maynooth is just like yeah sounds about right https://t.co/pL8DU0BROJ
— Mark (@mark95_) September 30, 2022
“Sadly this is nothing new… was happening when I was in college nearly 20 years ago in dublin!” another unsurprised user said.
Sharing her personal insight, a former student replied: “I went to college in Enniskillen in 1991 to digs. Found when I arrived I was sharing a double bed with a stranger! Still can’t believe that my parents or I allowed it!”
I went to college in Enniskillen in 1991 to digs. Found when I arrived I was sharing a double bed with a stranger! Still can’t believe that my parents or I allowed it!
— Cathy Farrell (@cathy_donegal) September 29, 2022
“I’m so shocked but not at all at the same time,” another person said. “Greed has no boundaries,” was another response, with people arguing that human rights and privacy of students should not be compromised by greed.
Privacy should not be for sale, and human rights should not be compromised by greed. https://t.co/nnEcL3O1Xp
— Maria G Lindsay (@mariemccolgan) September 29, 2022
— Sarah Keys G (@skkeys) September 29, 2022
“The fact that this is not even illegal says it all about this Govt,” was another scathing response.
It comes as another female student told The Independent earlier this week that she is currently living out of her car because she can’t get accommodation for college.
The alarming article, published on 28 September, detailed how third-year University of Galway student Jessica McGirr had sent more than 150 emails to landlords, receiving just two replies. She is now living out of her car in Galway city between staying with friends. She said the measures set out in Budget 2023 failed to help address the issue of very few rentals being available across the country.
Donegal native Ms McGirr started searching for a room in Galway city back in March, and has used her TikTok account ‘jess.mcgirr’ to record the struggles she has had to confront. Six months on, and she still hasn’t secured anything.
“This is my third year in Galway so I knew it was going to be rough because it was really rough last year but I didn’t think it was going to be this bad,” she told the Irish Independent.
Highlighting the shortage of rental properties, she told the newspaper: “There are only 15 houses [to rent] on Daft in Galway city and suburbs right now”.
The student says she has no other option but to currently live in her car and stay with friends, because all of her lectures are in-person.
“I couldn’t stay at home because none of my lectures are online and I have to be on campus for them, and I don’t have the money to stay in a hotel every night so I just decided I would go up in the car and then I just text a friend every night and ask if I can stay in their room,” she told the Independent.
In addition, the issue of landlords offering sexual favours in exchange for cheaper rent has become more prominent as the housing crisis here has worsened. In March, Justice Minister Helen McEntee said that sex-for-rent is currently not an offence in Ireland, leading many to express further concern over the safeguarding of desperate or vulnerable students.
However, new laws currently being considered could see landlords face criminal charges if they are caught asking potential tenants for sex in return for accommodation.
Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien told the Dáil that he is discussing legislation to tackle the issue with Justice Minister Helen McEntee and they are considering advice from the Attorney General, the Irish Mirror reported in March.
‘Sex for rent’ stories are on the rise across Ireland, with a January 2022 investigation by the Irish Examiner finding ads offering properties in both Dublin and Limerick offering properties in exchange for sexual favours for cheaper rents.
Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien condemned the disturbing ads, urging tenants to contact the Gardaí regarding those they come across.
In June, a Dáil committee was told by a tenant representative body that the issue of sex-for-rent could affect nearly 3,900 households in Ireland. The committee heard that something had to be done “urgently” about the issue of sex-for-rent, and that recent reporting on the matter may “only be the tip of the iceberg”.