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Irish Teachers Warn on Housing Shortage as Rents Hit New High

DUBLIN (Reuters) – Trade unions representing workers in Irish universities and schools warned the government on Tuesday that difficulties recruiting staff due to a chronic shortage of affordable housing is putting the delivery of education at risk.

Irish house prices and rents have more than doubled over the past decade. Daft.ie, Ireland’s main property listings site, said on Tuesday that rents for new residential tenancies hit a fresh high after the largest quarterly jump on record.

“This year we have seen schools and colleges struggle to recruit and retain critical staff, citing severe difficulties in the availability and affordability of accommodation,” the unions, representing about 100,000 members, said in a statement.

“The effective delivery of education is now fundamentally at risk if we don’t take steps to tackle the chronic housing challenges we are facing.”

The unions added that schools were now “places of sanctuary” for pupils who find themselves homeless or living in temporary accommodation. A record 10,975 people were in emergency accommodation at the end of September, government data shows.

The Daft.ie survey showed that rents for new tenancies rose nationwide by an average of 4.3% between June and September to stand 14.1% higher on the year, the largest quarter-on-quarter and year-on-year increases since the series began in 2006.

The government began capping rent increases for sitting tenants in mainly urban areas at 4% per year from 2016 and reduced the threshold to 2% a year ago. However new tenancies can be charged at market rates, creating a two-tiered market.

The research from Daft.ie showed that average rents for sitting tenants have increased 3.4% each year over the last decade, compared to 7.1% per year for market tenants.

The data showed that there were just 1,087 homes available to rent for a population of 5.1 million people as of Nov. 1. While house completions are up sharply this year, the government has said its target for further growth next year is at risk due to rising costs and interest rates.

“What has happened over the last 18 months has been an extraordinary collapse in the stock available to rent,” said Ronan Lyons, an assistant economics professor at Trinity College Dublin who analyses the data for Daft.

(Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Emeia Sithole-Matarise)

Copyright 2022 Thomson Reuters.

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