Students occupying the Quad at University College Cork in protest at proposed student accommodation rent increases have agreed to mediation talks.

Student leader David Condon confirmed this afternoon that the Students' Union agreed last night to talks between themselves and the Board of Campus Accommodation UCC under the auspices of an independent mediator in a bid to resolve the dispute.

It is now day eight of the occupation of the famous university Quad by the students.

Initially there were two tents, now there are 30.

The dispute arose following rent increases of more than 10% last year for UCC accommodation and a recent announcement of a further three per cent increase for the 2020/21 academic year.

Campus Accommodation UCC manages accommodation for almost 1,300 students over five complexes, at Victoria Mills, University Hall, Victoria Lodge, Castlewhite Apartments and Mardyke Hall.

Students' Union leader David Condon said that while they have made in-roads with the university, and agreed to an external mediator, "they won't be leaving the Quay anytime soon.

"Until our demands are met we will continue to camp on the quad".

The Students Union say over 5,000 students have signed a petition supporting the protest and their demands.

Last week some 700 staff members sent an open letter of support for the students' protest to university President Patrick O'Shea.

It is hoped that mediation talks can get under way tomorrow.

A planned meeting of the Board of Campus Accommodation UCC is unlikely to go ahead on Thursday.

In a statement issued by University College Cork this afternoon, the college said that it is hoped the mediated talks will identify "agreeable proposals" that can be put to the Board of Campus Accommodation UCC for consideration.

"Our goal is to ensure the provision of high quality and safe student accommodation at a fair price, significantly below that of private operators.

"The Board has already committed to waive the increase in rates for students who are in receipt of student hardship funds."