A Dublin City councillor has said that one of the city’s new student housing schemes is breaching its planning permission by letting out rooms for the Papal visit.
Workers’ Party councillor Éilis Ryan said that rooms in Dorset Point on Dorset Street are being let for up to €170 a night during the Pope’s visit.
She said the owners, Aparto, have been renting rooms there to tourists for the summer.
Cllr Ryan, who has campaigned extensively against student housing in the inner city, said: “Dorset Point, a block of 447 bedrooms on Dorset Street owned by Aparto, is being rented to tourists throughout the summer.
"This is in breach of its planning permission, which states that it cannot be used for any purpose other than as student accommodation. Aparto have not applied for permission to change the use of the structure.
“After repeated lectures about the urgent need for student housing in Dublin, now these private, unaffordable blocks are not even being used for that purpose.”
Cllr Ryan said the company have more than doubled the rental prices during the Papal visit.
She said: “The rooms are being rented for about €80 / night, but the weekend of the Pope’s visit this rises to an astounding €170 / night.
"The majority of Dorset Point’s rooms are available to students for only 41 weeks during the year.
“It proves what the Workers’ Party have been saying for some time. Private student housing does not benefit students - just mega-rich developers.”
Cllr Ryan accused the Government of allowing developers to eject students from their accommodation during the summer.
She said: “Even worse, the government have bowed to pressure from the developers, by granting any new student residences permission to evict students come summer-time, to make way for tourists.
“What logic is there in enabling these evictions? What about students with jobs to hold down during summer break? What about PhD students whose courses run year-round?
“Purpose-built student accommodation in Dublin is an excuse for developers and investors to make money off building with no obligations whatsoever to those in need of affordable, secure housing.
"Dublin City Council must clamp down on its misuse.”
A spokesperson for Aparto said: “Aparto aims to provide the best experience for its residents and operates within the remit of all statutory obligations. All current uses of its facilities throughout the calendar year are permitted under existing legislation.
"Its practice is no different to that of similarly sized operators within this sector in the Dublin area. Aparto is currently preparing for the commencement of a new academic year with new students for the 2018/19 period commencing their tenancies from mid-August onward.”