Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris has said the Government is going to partially fund the construction of almost 700 student accommodation beds in Maynooth in Co Kildare, and counties Limerick and Galway.

Speaking to RTÉ's News at One, Minister Harris said the Government will make an investment of €32 million, with the balance of funding coming directly from the universities.

Planning permission is already in place for these units.

The minister said he expects that some of these units will come on stream between 2023 and 2024.

There is also "active engagement" with Dublin City University and University College Dublin.

"We need a new approach to student accommodation and I got agreement today to have a new policy in Government where we will use taxpayer funds to partially fund the construction of student accommodation," he said.

"What we're doing is we're starting with projects that already have planning permission, in Maynooth, in Limerick, and in Galway, but projects that had been stalled because they hadn't been deemed to be viable.

"And what we're endeavoring to do through an investment of €32 million is fill that viability gap.

"This would result in nearly 700 student accommodation beds being built, that simply otherwise wouldn't have been built."

"But it's actually more fundamental than that, because it marks a changed approach.

"It says to all universities now around the country, 'let's work together, we will actually help you devise a model that can increase student supply'."

Minister Harris said that this plan does not just benefit students and their families, but also "helps in increasing housing supply overall across the country."