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Rent hikes may force students to defer college courses

Enda Cunningham

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Rents in Galway have hit Celtic Tiger levels again, prompting a warning that some prospective students will be forced to defer their college courses.

The warning came from economist Ronan Lyons this week with the release of a new report on rents from property website Daft.ie which also highlights a serious lack of available accommodation.

Rents being charged for private accommodation in the city are now on a par with the height of the economic boom in 2008.

Mr Lyons warned that many young people on a high after their Leaving Cert are destined to have their “spirits crushed” because of the situation in rental market.

At the moment, rents in the city are averaging €932 per month, which is a 13.9% increase on the same time last year.

The figure is also on a par with the €933 per month average which was hit in Galway in the third quarter of 2008.

Economist Ronan Lyons has warned that unless there is a significant take-up under the ‘rent-a-room’ scheme – which allows homeowners to earn up to €12,000 tax free per annum – students from outside urban areas will be forced to defer their courses.

“The class of 2016 are really stuck between a rock and a hard place. They’re low income newcomers to the most competitive areas of the housing market because the colleges they’re attending are mostly city-based.

“The majority can only afford to let for nine months instead of the standard twelve and don’t have the stable earnings or references of a full-time professional. In the private rental sector right now, it’s unlikely they’ll get a viewing, let alone a lease. This situation in the general market is not going to change over the next few weeks.

“College authorities, students unions and Government need to promote college digs as a priority over the next few weeks to make sure Irish homeowners are informed of how they can contribute to solving this crisis and the cash flow gains to be made.

“Otherwise many young people coming from outside urban areas — who don’t live near a university and can’t shoulder the costs of a long, pricey commute — will have to defer their college courses this September,” said Mr Lyons.

The Daft.ie report shows that in Galway City, rents are up 41.6% since they ‘bottomed out’ in late 2011.

A breakdown of the figures for the city shows one-bed apartments are renting for an average of €672 (up 10.7%); €773 for a two-bed house (up 15.1%); €936 for a three-bed (up 12.1%); €1,017 for a four-bed (up 13.2%) and €1,258 per month for a five-bed, which is an increase of 20.9%.

Other figures in the report show that under the ‘Rent a Room’ scheme, a single bed in the city centre is renting for an average of €347 per month (up 7.4%); and a double bed for €416 (up 10.6%).

In the suburbs, single beds are averaging €311 (up 5.8%) per month and double beds €373 (up 11%).

Meanwhile, in the county, monthly rents are averaging €631 – that’s up 7% on last year, and almost 24% since the bottom of the market.

A breakdown of figures for the county show that a one-bed apartment now rents for an average of €451 (up 2.8% over the past year); a two-bed house for €512 (up 5%); a three-bed house for €620 (up 2.3%); a four-bed house €674 (up 3.3%) and a five-bed house for €767 (up 10.3%).

CITY TRIBUNE

Galway City publican in heroic River Corrib rescue

Francis Farragher

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A city publican who last week helped save the life of a woman who had entered the waters of the Corrib off Wolfe Tone Bridge has made an appeal for young people to ‘look out for each other’.

Fergus McGinn, proprietor of McGinn’s Hop House in Woodquay, had been walking close to Jury’s Inn when he saw the young woman enter the river.

He then rushed to the riverbank on the Long Walk side of the bridge, jumped into the water, spoke to the woman and stayed with her until the emergency services arrived.

The incident occurred at about 3.45pm on Friday last, and a short time later the emergency services were on the scene to safely rescue the woman.

“She was lucky in that the river level was very low and she didn’t injure herself on the rocks and stones just under the water.”

He also appealed to the public to support in whatever they could the work being done by groups like the Claddagh Watch volunteers.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Pubs face court – for serving booze on their doorsteps!

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Gardaí have warned city publicans that alcohol cannot be served outside their own premises – even in newly-created on-street spaces designated by Galway City Council as suitable for outdoor dining.

Councillor Mike Crowe (FF) said three Gardaí visited a number of city centre pubs on Thursday afternoon informing them that drinking outdoors was not allowed under licensing laws.

“They warned publicans and restaurants that the area outside their premises is not covered by the licence, and therefore under national legislation, they are breaking the law, because they are not entitled to sell alcohol in non-licensed areas.

“The operators were told that this was an official warning, and they will be back again in a few days and if it persisted, they [Gardaí] would have no option but to issue a charge and forward files to the Director of Public Prosecution. You could not make this up.

“All of the big operators were visited, and received an official warning, and they will be charged if they persist. According to the guards, they’re getting instructions from [Garda headquarters in] Phoenix Park,” he said.

The matter will be raised at a meeting of the Galway City Joint Policing Committee on Monday.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Call for 50% affordable homes in new Galway City Council estates

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The next Galway City Development Plan should include a greater provision for affordable housing than that recommended by Government, a meeting of the City Council has heard.

Cllr Declan McDonnell (Ind) told the meeting that while it was the Government’s intention to introduce a stipulation that new estates should have 10% affordable housing, Galway should go further – building anything up to 50% affordable in developments that are led by the local authority.

The Affordable Housing Bill, which is currently working its way through the Oireachtas, proposes that all developments should have 10% affordable and 10% social housing as a condition of their approval.

Affordable housing schemes help lower-income households buy their own houses or apartments in new developments at significantly less than their open market value, while social housing is provided by local authorities and housing agencies to those who cannot afford their own accommodation.

The Council meeting, part of the pre-draft stage of forming the Development Plan to run from 2023 to 2029, was to examine the overarching strategies that will inform the draft plan to come before councillors by the end of the year and Cllr McDonnell said a more ambitious target for affordable housing was absolutely necessary.

“It must be included that at least 50% of housing must be affordable [in social housing developments],” he said.

This sentiment was echoed by Cllr Eddie Hoare (FG) who questioned if the City Council was ‘tied down’ by national guidelines, or if it could increase the minimum percentage of affordable housing required locally.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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