Vast majority of new student beds built in Dublin

Just seven purpose-built student beds have been completed in Limerick since the launch of the government's Rebuilding Ireland strategy in 2016.

A new progress update issued by the Department of Education and Skills shows that the vast majority of new student beds have been built in Dublin.

In all, a total of 6,362 purpose-built student beds have been built since the strategy launched in mid-2016, 80% of which have been constructed in the capital.

According to the report, which tracks progress until the end of March 2019, 413 purpose-built beds have been finished in Cork, with 510 completed in Galway and 296 in Kildare.

The remaining seven were developed in Limerick, falling far short of the demand in the city. Ahead of the 2018 college term, the University of Limerick appealed to private homeowners in the city to rent out rooms to students in need of accommodation.

Just 1,079 of the beds delivered since 2016 were developed by higher education institutions, with the remainder delivered by the private sector.

At present, there are a further 6,007 beds in development. Again, these are mainly focused around Dublin, where 4,713 of the 'on site' developments are located. A further 483 are in Kildare.

In Cork, despite a plethora of approvals for developments, there are just 417 beds in the works, according to the report. Plans for an additional 1,781 beds have been approved for Cork but have yet to start.

In total, there are 6,005 approved beds located around the country, though none are in Limerick, indicating that the accommodation crisis in the city is showing no signs of slowing.

Again, the private sector is dominating, with 4,556 of the approved beds located in private developments.

Applications for a further 2,880 have been submitted, with more than half of these located in Dublin.

In 2017, the Department of Housing introduced the Strategic Housing Development (SHD) fast-track planning scheme. Under this, student accommodation complexes of more than 200 beds are decided on by An Bord Pleanála to speed up the planning process.

As of the end of March 2019, 13 developments availed of the fast-track planning process. Of these, just four have been moved on-site.

At the launch of Rebuilding Ireland, the government targeted 7,000 new beds by the end of 2019 and 21,000 by 2024.

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