UCD loses 47 student beds as religious order terminates lease

Nuns plan to redevelop the site of the accommodation in Donnybrook

UCD Student Union President Katie Ascough documents her search for student accommodation during peak season for university students. Video: UCD Student Union

 

University College Dublin has lost 47 beds from its student residences after the religious order leasing the rooms to the college terminated the arrangement.

The accommodation in Muckross Halls, Donnybrook, was owned by the Dominican Order of nuns and leased out to the university to use for student housing.

The lease was renewed on an annual basis until this year where the agreement was terminated by the religious order “at very late notice” ahead of the college term, according to one source.

The accommodation was on the site of the Muckross Dominican convent and Muckross Park girls secondary school. The religious order is understood to be planning to redevelop the land for educational purposes.

A spokeswoman for UCD said “we understand from the owner’s agent that there are plans to develop a school at Muckross Park which was the reason why the order did not want to renew the lease”.

Student union representatives from UCD said the news came as a “blow” ahead of the scramble for student accommodation this August, and it is understood they were not previously informed of the loss of the student beds.

Alternative accommodation

Several students had booked rooms in the accommodation this summer ahead of the coming college term and had to be moved into alternative college-run accommodation.

Student union welfare officer Eoghan Mac Domhnail said “it’s very disappointing to think that beds are being taking off the market in the midst of a national student housing crisis”.

The student union officer said he has already dealt with numerous cases of students each week who are having difficulty finding rental accommodation in south Dublin. Competition for housing, in the private rental market or for college-run rooms, will increase after the first round of CAO places are released Monday.

The Muckross Halls rooms were catered accommodation, and were one of the most expensive rooms UCD offered, at €8,436 for the full nine-month term.

A spokeswoman for UCD said the college’s lease with the Dominican Order “was renewed on a year-to-year basis pending the order’s longer-term plans”.

“This was always a short-term arrangement as it is our intention to expand and manage on-campus accommodation. The accommodation at Muckross included catering and historically was less popular than on-campus accommodation,” she said.

Last September the university opened a new 354-room accommodation residence on the Belfield campus, and have long-term plans to double the number of student beds on the Dublin 4 campus to 6,000 rooms.