Third-level students in Limerick are staying in hotels because they cannot find suitable accommodation in the city.
Students studying in Limerick are paying up to €390 weekly for five nights in a hotel as part of a deal struck between Mary Immaculate College and three city hotels .
The teacher training college says it is the first time it has had to do this for students returning after the summer break. It has reached a similar agreement with one hotel in Thurles where it has a smaller campus.
The college has acknowledged that it is "not ideal" but says there is no other option.
The college's accommodation manager, John Randles, says the accommodation shortage is far more extreme this year compared to previous years.
He says two factors are to blame - remote learning meant that many students have not rented properties over the past year and a half, and in the meantime many houses that used to be available to students have been taken out of that market and rented long-term.
"Landlords couldn’t wait a year and a half," Mr Randles said.
There has also been a dramatic fall in the number of people offering traditional "digs" accommodation to students. This is something that is being experienced nationwide.
Mr Randles says it is largely because people are being much more cautious about letting a stranger come and live in their home because of concerns around Covid-19.
"A lot of them are older and they want to wait until after Christmas to see how things go," he added.