Taoiseach raises flag at MTU's Cork campus for the first time

MTU workers from the TUI union held a silent protest today to highlight a number of issues raised by staff with management at the new university
Taoiseach raises flag at MTU's Cork campus for the first time

President of MTU Professor Maggie Cusack, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD, An Taoiseach Micheál Martin TD and President of MTU Student Union Aisling O'Mahony at the inaugural raising of the MTU flag to mark the official opening of Munster Technological University in the MTU Bishopstown Campus. Photo: Darragh Kane

Munster Technological University raised its flag on six campuses across the South West on Monday, in a move which president of the University, Professor Maggie Cusack, described as representing “a new dawn for Higher Education” in the country.

The university was established on January 1, 2021 — the result of a merger between Cork Institute of Technology and IT Tralee.

It is the first new university to be established in the South West since 1845.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, presided over the inaugural raising of the MTU flag at the Bishopstown campus to celebrate the establishment of the university.

Professor Maggie Cusack, President of MTU and An Taoiseach Micheál Martin TD. Photo: Darragh Kane
Professor Maggie Cusack, President of MTU and An Taoiseach Micheál Martin TD. Photo: Darragh Kane

“The first raising of the Munster Technological University (MTU) flag, on its six campuses across the South West, represents a new dawn for Higher Education in the country,” said Prof Maggie Cusack, president of MTU.

She added: “As we raise our flag today. We do three things, we thank everyone who has brought us to this momentous point. We celebrate our arrival by succeeding together and we raise our eyes and set with ambition for a shared future. We place no limits on ourselves. By working well together with our industrial, business and academic collaborators, we will ensure that MTU will have the most powerful impact and benefits for the regions and all members of our MTU community,” she added.

A 'key driver' for the South West region 

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said that the importance of higher education has never been greater.

“We will need to maximise our ability to produce talented and responsible graduates who can lead, innovate, create, inspire, and transform. We will need these graduates in every village, town, city, and region in Ireland if we are to achieve the ground-up community engagement required to succeed in a sustainable manner. The development of technological universities is a key development. The establishment of MTU, in particular, will prove to be transformative for the South West Region.”

The Taoiseach said MTU has a bright new chapter to look forward to.

“MTU will be a key driver in ensuring the South West region achieves its full potential for social, cultural and economic development. I am honoured to mark this bright new chapter,” he added.

Silent protest 

Meanwhile, MTU workers from the TUI union held a silent protest today to highlight a number of issues raised by staff with management at the new university. Their grievances relate to issues concerning recruitment and staff complaints procedures.

Susan Flannery, chair of MTU’s TUI branch, said members were frustrated over a failure to agree on a number of issues.

Ms Flannery said the union members are ‘frustrated’. “There is very minimal progress. This was meant to be done and dusted before we became an MTU on January 1, 2021. We are fed up with it. Our members are frustrated.”

In a statement, MTU said it is fully committed to engaging with the local branch of the TUI.

“An agreement was signed with TUI almost three years ago, in December 2018, providing the basis for engagement towards the development of MTU which was subsequently formally established on January 1, 2021. Significant resources have been committed over the last three years to this local engagement process.

“The agreement included a dispute resolution process where unresolved matters are referred to the conciliation service of the Workplace Relations Commission.

“MTU, in line with the agreement, is engaged with TUI through the services of the WRC in the coming weeks to resolve the matters at hand.”

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