Trinity’s Printing House Square accommodation complex – dogged by delays for almost a year – is now “very unlikely” to be open in time to admit students for the start of the next academic year, a top College official has said.
Construction on the 250-bed, €62 million complex – originally slated to open last summer, before a spate of roadblocks and controversies slowed the process – has been halted as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, and is unlikely to be completed by the start of next year, Dean of Students Kevin O’Kelly told The University Times.
He said it’s not possible to know when Printing House Square will open “until the current crisis is over”.
In an email, O’Kelly wrote that the contractor on the site was working towards a completion date of July 31st before a national lockdown enforced as a result of the coronavirus.
He said that even if work restarts on the site on May 5th – the date current restrictions are due to be lifted – “it seems highly unlikely that contractor can make up the lost time”.
“Sadly”, O’Kelly added, “this means it is very unlikely that the rooms will be available to students for the beginning of the next semester”.
Controversy engulfed the complex for much of last summer, after it emerged that a subcontractor on the site was paying apprentice plumbers less than the legal rate.
Unite the Union, which represents some of the plumbers on the site, first made Trinity aware of the issue in March, but Trinity did not open an investigation into the matter until July.
The union subsequently staged two protests outside Trinity – one of which saw a giant rat erected on Pearse St, outside the construction site.
Last September, internal documents obtained by The University Times showed that the project was less than 50 per cent completed at the end of August, far behind where College hoped it would be.
The documents showed that just 48.86 per cent of the 250-bed complex was finished on August 30th, far short of the 66.16 per cent of the project that Trinity planned to have finished by the same point.