Students are offered bed and board, but 30km from college
A new housing complex on the grounds of a Meath secondary school is trying to attract DCU students who have been unable to find somewhere to live for the coming academic year.
Students have been alerted to the complex, called Gormans- ton Park, on the grounds of the former fee-paying Gormanston College near Balbriggan.
It comes amid growing concern that students will not find suitable places to live due to the chronic housing shortage in Dublin and other cities and towns.
Some 100 en-suite and single standard bedrooms are being advertised to students by the complex's management company.
They are on the 110-acre parkland site and next to the college - but are 30km from DCU.
Some rooms undergoing refurbishment were previously used for boarders at the school.
A flyer for the complex says residents can make use of a range of leisure facilities including a nine-hole golf course, playing pitches and a pool.
The accommodation is also catered, with breakfast and dinner provided each day by IMAC facilities, which also manages accommodation for students of UCD.
A spokesman for the complex said there are a number of transport options that a student could use to get to and from classes each day.
"There's the 101 Bus Eireann service which will collect passengers just 350 metres from the park, and there's the train station which is just over 1km away," he said.
Students taking the train would need to get off at Connolly Station and get a connecting train to Drumcondra or take a bus to DCU, which is in Ballymun.
"We could also put on a shuttle service to allow students to use the Matthews bus service which collects from city north," the spokesman added.
En suite rooms will cost just over €7,200 for the year, with standard rooms at €6,000. The prices include utilities and insurance, as well as breakfast and dinner.
DCU Students' Union has alerted incoming students to the new complex.
Vice-president James Donoghue said the union was not necessarily approving the accommodation, but wanted "to present as many options as possible to students" to ensure they have a place to live.
"We really don't want a situation where students have to defer a course because they can't find somewhere to live," he said.
"It's not a case of approving of any particular accommodation but presenting as many options as possible to all students."
Gormanston Park said that while the secondary and third-level students would be on the same campus, they would be kept apart.
There is CCTV in operation on the campus and there will also be night time security personnel and porters on site.
The development of the site as a third-level student village comes as the housing crisis continues to drive up rents and has resulted in students finding it almost impossible to get appropriate accommodation.
DCU Students' Union previously wrote to staff members, including lecturers and professors, asking them if they or anyone they knew could take in students.
"We as a union are appealing to people in the adjoining area to Dublin City University, who may have a room or rooms available in their house, to consider opening it up to students," the email said.
Mr Donoghue said last night that after a hectic couple of weeks the situation was beginning to improve, with more digs and rooms becoming available for students.