Food for thought: The decision yet again to postpone Leaving Cert results this year could possibly mask a government attempt to buy time as the ongoing asylum surge looks set to muscle Irish students from the accommodation market.
Ostensibly driven by the knock on effects of lockdown, the deferment for the third year running is rather unusual considering the end of restrictions months ago. However this move can be contextualised in the wholescale purloining of student accommodation to Ukranians over the Summer period as the state grappled with overextending itself severely on asylum promises.
With students heading home for Summer break college accommodation at the time was easy prey for government officials frantically looking to fill the gap as Ukranians arrived. This was all done assuming such measures were temporary.
While figures are sketchy, up to 4,500 beds have been gobbled up by the asylum industry with Trinity alone giving 200 places causing low level rancour among students.
Particularly affected has been the University of Limerick which has seen large chunks of its 2,800 available beds filled since April.
In June various officials voiced their concern that a calamity was on the horizon when Irish students return in September to swathes of housing stock off the market due to asylum demands.
Originally meant to be a stopgap measure before more suitable accommodation was found, to absolutely no surprise Minister Roderic O’Gorman confirmed in a radio interview last week that such measures would continue into the September term thus impairing students.
O’Gorman made the comments while replying to an increasingly vocal Carol Nolan TD who pointed out the clear and present danger prioritising Ukrainian refugees over Irish students would have during the September rush for places.
With the asylum spike has so far been impacting mainly the hotel and short term rental sector, the rupturing out of the crisis onto the student accommodation market would mark a significant escalation and one no doubt hard to brush over.
Already facing average costs of €940 per month in the private rental market, this new milestone on the market will without question hobble lower income and rural students. In the toss up between providing for Irish youth and earning some street cred among EU and NATO power elites getting an extra few refugees in the door the Dublin government has chosen the latter without a blink of an eye.
So bad this situation could get, don’t write off the chance that covid restrictions around in person lectures may cynically return if only to reduce pressure on struggling students and a red faced government.
As with everything around the asylum industry, temporary measures bleed invariably into regular responses with the continued wrecking of the student accommodation market likely to become an annual feature each September.
Against all this students are left with the sole recourse of decadent and open borders leaning SUs ideologically flummoxed in dealing with the very policies they advocate for.
When colleges come back 2 months hence expect a collision between the interests of Irish students and that of the sacred bulls of the asylum industry and don’t waste too much time debating which will be prioritised.