A former Lord Mayor of Cork has hit out at what he calls the “disintegration of communities” caused by the spread of University College Cork.
Toddy O'Sullivan, a former Labour TD and junior minister, who was also Lord Mayor of Cork in 1980, said families have been pushed out of residential areas of the south side of the city due to the rise in student accommodation.
“I would imagine UCC has done reports on every conceivable subject that you can imagine. I wonder has it ever done a report on the impact that it has had on the community in which it is located? I doubt it,” he said.
“I'm not against the college. I was a member of it long ago. I know the importance of providing education. We need graduates. Our country needs them. But this has depopulated the areas in which we live. Just walk down College Road, Magazine Road, Glasheen Road, Bandon Road today... the place is deserted. There's nobody around. They've all gone.”
Mr O'Sullivan raised the issue at the most recent meeting of the South Central Community Safety Forum. He said while student housing has had a huge impact on the exodus of families in the area, UCC has also been setting up shop in houses initially meant to be family homes.
“Some of the finest houses in this city, residential dwellings, have been converted into offices and lecture rooms by UCC,” he said.
“Look at College Road, Western Road, Donovan Road... magnificent houses. And yet they are being misused and it's putting pressure on the localities in which we live due to the shortage of accommodation.”
He called on Cork City Council to step in, and also advocated for a second campus on the north side of the city.
“I think there is a need for a second campus on the north side to ease the pressure on the south side. Because this has gone on and on and will continue until somebody says 'stop'."