The Department of Education this afternoon has granted Technological University status to a consortium made up of Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) and IT Tralee.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh and the Minister of State for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor confirmed that the two applicant institutes have demonstrated compliance and met the conditions set down for a merger for the new Munster Technological University (MTU).
The move means that students across Munster will have access to a broader range of educational opportunities across six campuses in Cork and Kerry.
The Munster Technological University has been years in planning and will be the second Technological University in the state, the first being TU Dublin, an amalgamation of Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT), Institute of Technology Tallaght (ITT), and Institute of Technology Blanchardstown (ITB).
The Oireachtas will now approve a ministerial order with the country’s newest Technological University getting recognition from January 1 next.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that it was an important day for higher education in Ireland and for the South West.
He said that Technological Universities are “central” to delivering on the Government’s ambition to expand and consolidate higher education facilities, to boost economic development across the country and to attract research funding.
“This new TU in Munster will be a driver of regional development, and it will help to make higher education more accessible. Above all else it will provide more opportunities for individuals, enterprise and the community. I want to thank both Institutes, their staff, students and management. I congratulate in particular Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor who has been driving this change,” he said.
There will be over 140 courses and programmes on offer to students with this new venture which has been broadly welcomed by the Tánaiste Simon Coveney.
Speaking to RedFM news earlier today, Tánaiste Simon Coveney said that the consortium is “very very positive news for education in Cork”.
“This has been something that CIT has been leading on and working towards for probably three years now.
“More importantly this is going to mean that we have a second university in Cork and it’s going to mean an opportunity for significant increased investment on the campus of what is now CIT but oon to become the Munster Technological University. So big new and very very positive news for education in Cork,” he said.
The Education Minister previously delayed his decision on the TU proposal in July of last year until this year after a review carried out by an independent panel highlighted that the capacity of both CIT and IT Tralee to take on “technological university functions” was not clear.
The minister said that despite the “lack of clear vision and strategy” that the MTU submission contained at that time, that the Government was “strongly committed to the establishment of MTU as a key priority”.
Fine Gael TD Colm Burke said that the new Munster Technological University will secure the future of higher education in the South West.
Speaking following this afternoon’s announcement, the Cork North Central TD said that the educational success of both institutes “has provided some of Ireland’s best and brightest students and has contributed significantly to Ireland’s standing as a centre for innovation and investment opportunities”.
“Today’s announcement builds on that success to deliver unique higher education and opportunities to students, staff and wider business and community stakeholders in the South West region.
“Though considerable challenges remain the establishment of a technological university will do much to ensure the future success of higher education in the State,” he said.