New Alumni Association formed

051Graduates of Ireland’s only Bachelo of Social Sciences in Housing and Community Studies yesterday, September 17th, formed an Alumni Association for past students. Minister for Housing, Michael Finneran, T.D. officially launched the association in the Mont Clare Hotel, Merrion Square, Dublin yesterday evening amongst past and current students, UCD and Respond Housing Association personnel and other Department and housing officials.

The BSS in Housing and Community Studies was introduced by Respond Housing Association and is the only housing degree available in Ireland. The degree is given in association with University College Dublin and contains students from a variety of professional backgrounds including Local Authorities, HSE, Legal Aid, An Garda Síochána and otehr voluntary associations.

According to Aoife Walsh, Respond Housing Association spokesperson:
“We are amazed at the success of the course and how it has grown over the past number of years. It is especially gratifying that it is past students who expressed their desire for an Alumni Association and that it has been so well received. There is a definite need for specialist academic and professional training for those working in housing and community development in Ireland.”

Tailored to the needs of those working in, or with an interest in, housing, local government, housing design and construction, community development and the voluntary sector, the BSS offers a practice-based academic education. Respond Housing Association consulted closely with the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, as well as the County and City Managers’ Association when designing the course. Lecturers and guest speakers over the past four years include highly respected academics and professsionals from the sector including Dr Michelle Norris (UCD), John O’ Connor (Affordable Homes Partnership), Prof Tony Fahey (UCD), Dr Peadar Kirby (DCU), Evelyn Hanlon (Dublin City Council) and Brian Harvey (Independent Social Researcher).

Addressing the launch of Respond’s Alumni Association, the Minister for Housing Michael Finneran, T.D. said:
“With such a distinguished record in the field of housing provision, it is easy then to overlook the other services that Respond provides. This evening we acknowledge the role the housing association is playing in the provision of education for those professionals working in the housing area.” The Minister added that he sees “the continued success of the education and training courses which Respond provides as playing an impotant role in enabling us to provide the sort of sustainable communities outlined in our housing policy statement Delivering Homes, Sustaining Communities“.

The course is delivered on a part-time basis in the Respond campus in Drumcondra, with some lectures delivered in University College Dublin. The degree is not listed with the Central Applications Office (CAO) and is intended for mature (over 23) students only. Further information can be obtained by contacting Declan Markey on 051 840200 or by emailing