UPDATE in relation to the 4% rent increase at Goldcrest
Two weeks ago today the news broke that Atalia Ltd increased the on-campus student accommodation rent by 4% which is the maximum allowable increase in a rent pressure zone. We have been working hard to try and get this decision reversed!
1. The day after the news broke, we immediately made contact with the University President to organise a meeting about the decision taken by the board of directors. We met on the Monday after and had a few positive actions and commitments that came from the meeting; one including a joint letter being sent to Atalia Ltd requesting a meeting to discuss the rationale behind the increase. We also changed the student strategy launch to an open forum where students could come along to talk to the President expressing their frustration and share their personal stories to highlight the every-day struggles students in higher level education face.
2. In addition, we launched an online petition which now has over 2,000 signatures. The Students’ Union Executive Committee also went around Goldcrest and Corrib Village gathering signatures and spreading our message.
3. We sent letters to all Údarás members (Governing Body of the University) informing them of our position and mentioning that this would be an item of discussion on the agenda. In advance of the meeting we rang around to ensure their support on the day.
4. We strategically planned the day of action for Thursday morning to coincide with Údarás taking place so that members would see the protesters while we argued the point at the table. We succeeded and received their support as a letter will be sent from Údarás to the board of Atalia Ltd later on today, expressing disapproval with a view to reversing the decision made. Further to the protest, we liaised with political societies including Labour, Young Greens, Sinn Féin, People Before Profit, CYM and Social Democrats and supported the sleep out #OccupationOfTheQuad last night.
5. We have also engaged in a numerous amount of local and national media outlets over the last two weeks to highlight this issue and keep it a rolling item on the agenda.
6. After a meeting with the President today (Friday 28th Feb), we have agreed to bring the meeting with the board of Atalia Ltd forward to this coming Wednesday 4th March as a call of urgency. We are delighted to say we have gained the support of students, staff, Údarás, the University President, councillors and TD’s.
Unfortunately, due to the red weather warning this weekend we will have to continue our occupation of the Quad with political student groups on Monday 2nd March. We encourage as many students to join us to ensure that these rent increases do not create further barriers to education for our students.
We won’t stop until the rent increase drops! #FreezeTheFour #BreakTheBarriers ??