LIT Thurles campus would have technological university status very soon
"These are exciting and refreshing times for our Institutes of Technology. I am delighted with the progress made in establishing a Technological University between Limerick Institute of Technology and the Athlone Institute" - Deputy Michael Lowry.
The Minister for Higher Education, Simon Harris has described as 'tranformational' the effect of technological university status can have on Thurles and Clonmel as LIT and AIT come closer to merging.
‘I think this is going to be transformational for Tipperary. What you’re going to see is exactly what you’ve said Deputy Lowry, Thurles and Clonmel could potentially, this calendar year, become University Towns’, said Minister for Further and Higher Education.
Simon Harris, was responding to a question from the Tipperary Deputy asking him to outline his thoughts and vision on the proposed new Technological University in the Midwest and the impact it will have on Tipperary and the region.
Deputy Lowry sought an update from the Minister in the Dail on Wednesday on the submission to provide a new TU, which will incorporate the Athlone Institute of Technology and the Limerick Institute of Technology and, in turn, encompass the satellite campuses in Thurles and Clonmel.
Minister Harris said that the first stage of the process was completed at the end of February, which involved an examination of the proposal by an International Panel. This panel is now in the process of finalising its report, which it will submit to the Higher Education Authority. It then moves to the QII before a recommendation is made to Minister Harris on whether to grant Technological University or not.
‘I’d be very hopeful of a positive recommendation’ stated the Minister, ‘ a huge amount of work has been done and I want to thank all the staff in LIT and AIT and, in particular, both Presidents for their leadership.
Deputy Lowry said: ‘These are exciting and refreshing times for our Institutes of Technology. I am delighted with the progress made in establishing a Technological University between Limerick Institute of Technology and the Athlone Institute. The umbrella group representing all stakeholders did a wonderful job of work. Discussions and negotiations went smoothly. They were united in purpose and the merger is on track’
‘This is a massive opportunity and ground-breaking initiative for L.I.T. and the Thurles and Clonmel campuses. Thurles and Clonmel will become University Towns. It will have a hugely positive impact on the educational and enterprise landscape of Tipperary’ he stated.
Minister Harris said that it will be ‘transformational because you’re going to see exactly what you’ve said, Deputy Lowry, Thurles and Clonmel will become University Towns. You’re going to see young people and not so young people in Tipperary able to access University education in their own county. No more having to pack the bags and head to some other county or city’
‘I think it will be transformational for education, but I also think it will be transformational in so many other ways’ he said. ‘We know that the longer somebody stays in their own county the more likely they are to put down roots there, to raise their own family there, to get a job there. So I think this can have hopefully have major benefits for rural and provincial Ireland and I think Tipperary will be very well placed,’ said the Minister.
‘Of course, Governments commitment on this comes with an assurance of wanting to do more on the Capital side and looking at opportunities to expand and grow the University presence as we form Technological Universities.
‘I know that the hopefully new soon to be Technological University is eager to be designated as quickly as possible. That’s certainly my aim as well. We’ll be able to put a very specific date on that once I receive the support. But it’s all systems go, it’s a really exciting time not just for the Midwest and the Midlands but also for the county of Tipperary. Thurles and Clonmel could potentially, this calendar year, be University Towns’ concluded the Minister.