Plan for extra 1,000 student rooms to go before Cabinet

Firing gun on budgetary process will also be started with economic update from Minister for Finance Michael McGrath

An extra 1,000 student beds will be delivered across three universities as part of plans due to be approved by Cabinet on Tuesday.

Minister for Higher Education Patrick O’Donovan will bring a memo to Cabinet detailing plans to ramp up student accommodation aided by what has been described as a “windfall” from the National Development Plan worth €100 million.

Taoiseach Simon Harris has previously said he wants to address supply issues for students and remove barriers to education.

Under the memo going to Cabinet, the Government will focus on adding 1,014 purpose-built student accommodation units across three universities. This includes 493 units in UCD, 405 in DCU and 116 in Maynooth University.


A third of all the new accommodation will be for students availing of SUSI grants or for students from low-income families. It it understood that construction will start in DCU and Maynooth University this year, with work in UCD likely to start in early 2025.

Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman is also expected to bring a memo to Cabinet which would fast track plans to recognise childminders so that they can register with Tusla, and avail of existing childminding subsidies.

Childminders who are not registered with Tusla, the child and family agency, cannot be considered for the childcare scheme. There is no centralised registration system for childminders, who typically work in people’s homes, but it is estimated there are about 15,000 childminders in Ireland.

A Government source said Mr O’Gorman may seek to expedite the specific part of the legislation which deals with the registration issue, rather than bringing the entirety of a Bill which addressed broader issues.

Minister for Finance Michael McGrath will also bring the 2024 Stability Programme Update (SPU) which will detail the state of the economy. The publication of the SPU effectively fires the starting gun on the process for Budget 2025. After this, the National Economic Dialogue will hear from stakeholders and this will be followed by a Summer Economic Statement.

An update on the Government’s Housing For All plan will also be brought by the Department of Taoiseach. It comes after Ministers were privately warned earlier this year that an extra 120,000 homes would likely be needed by 2030.

Ministers were told at a Cabinet committee meeting that previous estimates which showed the population reaching 5.7 million people by 2040 may now materialise 10 years sooner than expected.

They were told the Economic and Social Research Institute was now projecting in excess of 300,000 more people in 2030 than previously anticipated, and that this could equate to a requirement for about 120,000 new homes to 2030 alone.

Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times