Darren Timlin (27), from Rossport, Belmullet, Co Mayo, is a secondary school teacher working in Greystones, Co Wicklow, but still has no accommodation for the academic year.
“This is my sixth viewing in the last three weeks,” he said on Wednesday. “The ones I’ve been to, there could be 10-15 people who are also viewing. It’s more an interview of you than a viewing of a house,” he said.
As he is a newly-qualified teacher he is not paid over the summer and so gave up his previous accommodation, which was in Greystones, and moved home “to save a bit of money to go working this year”. He is looking for accommodation in south Dublin but away from Greystones because “it’s too expensive”.
“I’ve found it absolutely impossible to find a place,” he says. “I’ve been four or five weeks driving up from Mayo, a four-hour journey, doing viewings for places, with no luck at all.”
Fortunately, he has relations in Lucan with whom he can stay until he finds accommodation. “It’s about an hour and a half in the morning with traffic,” he says, “but it will keep me ticking over for a week or two. But it’s no way to be living, going in on top of your aunt in a spare room and then going to work and coming home.”
Even last year, with rent and expenses, he struggled financially. “I found I had less money at the end of the [academic] year than at the start,” he says.
The Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) warned this week that schools are facing an “alarming” struggle to hire teachers before the new term because of the cost-of-living crisis, “particularly in relation to accommodation and transport” in urban areas.
Mr Timlin said: “The starting wage for a teacher after tax is about €2,100 per month, and if you’re forking out €800-€850 for rent and then bills on top of that and you’re paying for your car and your diesel, and your fuel costs, that’s about half your wage gone before you even start buying food.”
As a newly-qualified teacher he makes the point that, “you don’t get to really choose where you start teaching”.
“You have to kind of take what you get, to get your experience and get your foot in the door. It’s impossible to get a job back home when you are just starting out,” he says, which effectively means moving to Dublin.
A lot of his classmates from college have gone to Spain and Dubai to teach. “They’re living there rent-free, they’re getting their dinners on board, they’re getting paid a fortune, and they have the time of their lives.”
Another teacher, from Waterford but working in Lucan, who did not wish to be identified, shared via Facebook messenger her experience of looking for accommodation. “I am starting work on Thursday and have nowhere to live yet. I will stay on a friend’s couch until I can find something.”
She has been searching for the last couple of weeks, but to no avail. “The costs are gone so high even compared to last summer, a dingy room sharing a bathroom with two or three other people, who you don’t know, [costs] €750.”
Short letting continues to be an issue. “Many people are saying Monday to Friday only, so you essentially have to move out every week. I have done life in Dublin for two years now and have not been able to save properly at all for my own future house. The main reason I stay is that I like my school, my pupils and my colleagues.”