Students across Ireland are relying on food banks to get by, colleges claim

Students across Ireland are relying on food banks to get by, colleges claim

A NUMBER of Irish colleges are claiming students are having to rely on food banks in order to get by.

Food banks have been running at universities across the country for many years, but with rising rent and education costs, many students are in financial peril, and are struggling to afford basic things like shopping.

Representatives from at least three colleges told The Journal that a significant number of students are "barely surviving".

"There is a cohort of students who barely survive and do not have family support," revealed Shay Casey, the chaplain of TUS Athlone.

Costs have risen even higher since the pandemic, leaving thousands under severe financial pressure.

Dean O’Reilly, of DCU Students’ Union said: "The influx of students into the Dublin region has meant that many landlords had the capacity to increase rents, or - under the table - charge students more than they would otherwise.

"So it left students in quite a precarious situation where they had no other choice but to accept higher levels of rent. And that takes away from their disposable income for other things," he added.

Earlier this week, the student union food bank at University College Cork ran out of food in a matter of hours, prompting USI (University Students of Ireland) president Clare Austick to urge the Government to boost funding to third-level education to alleviate the financial burden on students.

"Many students are really, really struggling financially and it’s gotten to the point where they have to go to a food bank to try and get food," Austick said.

"What we’re seeing in Cork is just a fraction of what’s happening across the country, It’s across the board. The way the education system is funded in Ireland, it’s basically a broken system."