Students protest across south Ireland over cost of living and accommodation crisis

Militant Left at students protest in Limerick city, Ireland

On Thursday, 13 October, there was a student walkout organized outside the main building of the University of Limerick (UL), in conjunction with several rallies at universities around the South of Ireland to fight against the housing crisis. Tens of thousands of students took part in the protests across the country. Militant Left joined the protest in Limerick.
Roughly 350 students attended the UL rally.  The walkouts were called by the Union of Students in Ireland (USI)  and in Limerick; it was supported by the post-grad students’ union, the tenants’ union CATU, and the Limerick/UL People Before Profit branch. Speakers from these groups were joined by several independent student speakers, each telling the crowd about their struggles or those they’ve seen.
Three to four-hour commutes
They spoke with regard to housing availability and affordability, three- or four-hour commutes, and the academic, personal, (mental) health, and community impact of housing uncertainty in the current crisis. They spoke, as well, of the failures of the university and the government to maintain a housing stock, and the vultures and developers that profit from renters’ desperation.
Several international students talked about the particular difficulties for this group, who may pay tens of thousands per year in student fees. Their rents may outstrip their families’ incomes. These students often lack the community connections and even meager safety nets that Irish students and workers are falling back on as the housing crisis intensifies.
Following these speakers, there was a series of chants, such as, “gaffs, not greed”, “no keys, no degrees”, and “more keys, less fees.”  The rally showed that there’s a great deal of energy and anger around this issue that is likely to continue.
The following is a statement from Socialist Students in Britain in solidarity with the protests by students in Ireland:

Solidarity with students in Ireland – let’s walk out here too!

Build a mass student movement against the cost-of-living crisis!

Socialist Students extends our solidarity to the tens of thousands of students across Ireland who have protested today against the student cost-of-living and housing crisis there.

Today’s large walkouts and rallies are a display of the huge anger that exists among students in Ireland, as sky-high fees and rents – compounded by an acute student accommodation shortage – have left many struggling to live.

Socialist Students supports the demands of the Union of Students in Ireland (USI), who have called for rent caps, the abolition of fees, and a publicly funded higher education system, among other demands aimed at tackling the dire situation facing students.

The same crisis looms over students in the UK. During the summer, one in three students were left with £50 a month to live on after paying rent and bills. 11% of students now use food banks, up from 5% at the start of the year. Like in Ireland, some UK students have been forced to defer their studies due to a lack of accommodation, while others have had no option but to live miles from campus.

The President of the USI has said that today’s protests are “just the start”. Socialist Students calls on the National Union of Students (NUS), as the confederation joining together millions of students in the UK, to follow the example of the USI and take the lead in organising walkouts in all universities and colleges across the country, as the first step in a mass fightback against the student cost-of-living crisis.

But if the NUS does not act, then Socialist Students will be calling for walkouts and demonstrations on every campus, as a step towards building democratic and open student organisations that can link up nationally to build a mass student movement – for living maintenance grants, rent controls, and fully publicly funded, free higher education.

By uniting with workers fighting back in the trade unions, students can force this weak and divided Tory party to concede to our demands. That’s why Socialist Students will be marching alongside the trade union movement at the TUC lobby of parliament in London on November 2. We call on all students looking to link up with the growing strike wave to join us.

Young people’s experience of capitalism – poverty, crisis, and austerity – has led many to search for a socialist alternative to what is happening. Join Socialist Students to help build a movement against the student cost-of-living crisis, for free education, to campaign on campuses, and fight for socialism.

Socialist Students says:

  • No to price rises on campuses, early closure of libraries or other campus spaces, and any more cuts to our education, courses, or jobs. No delays in access to student hardship funds for students in need
  • For third-party halls to be immediately taken into the ownership and control of the university, as a step towards introducing democratic rent controls for students. Councils should use their powers to compulsorily register landlords to force action on dilapidated and overpriced student housing
  • Replace student loans with living grants tied to the rate of inflation – cancel student debt, scrap fees, and make the super-rich pay
  • Link up with striking workers – build a movement to demand that the bosses are made to pay for the cost of living crisis
  • Students and workers unite to kick out the Tories and fight for socialist change. For democratic public ownership of the banks, monopolies, and major industry to provide us with a future

Special financial appeal to all readers of

Support building alternative socialist media provides a unique analysis and perspective of world events. also plays a crucial role in building the struggle for socialism across all continents. Capitalism has failed! Assist us to build the fight-back and prepare for the stormy period of class struggles ahead.
Please make a donation to help us reach more readers and to widen our socialist campaigning work across the world.

Donate via Paypal

Liked this article? We need your support to improve our work. Please become a Patron! and support our work
Become a patron at Patreon!
October 2022