THE Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris has been called on to intervene and instruct both UCC and MTU to open college campuses on the northside of the city by a Cork TD.
Sinn Féin TD for Cork North Central Thomas Gould said if a third-level institution opened up a campus on the northside of the city it would send a "clear message" to students that they belong in university.
“Unfortunately on the northside, in the heart of Cork city and with low levels of university attendance, we don’t have a single university campus. I think it's time for the Minister to intervene and instruct both universities to open campuses on the northside and send a clear message to our students that not only can they go to university but they belong in university,” he said.
Deputy Gould said there are low levels of university attendance on the northside and described how students from the area can face more barriers to attend university than students from elsewhere.
The Cork TD said he has met with UCC and reached out to MTU to discuss the matter further.
“Cork is very well known as a beacon of education with both UCC and MTU recognised regularly on the world stage for the quality of academics both teaching and research.
“I have repeatedly reached out to MTU to request a meeting. I have never received more than a courtesy reply. I have met with UCC but disappointingly they aren’t considering expansion into the northside despite acknowledging the benefits this could have and the low take-up of third level in the area. The 2020 concept for women in sport was if she can’t see it, she can’t be it. That also applies to students on the northside,” he added.
A spokesperson for University College Cork toldthey have a strong focus on seeking to ensure education is accessible for all.
“University College Cork has a strong focus on seeking to ensure education is accessible for all of our community and is engaged on a number of partnerships, over many years, with the community in the northside of the city.
“Some of these include: Supporting the NICHE community health initiative, working within Knocknaheeny, Hollyhill, and surrounding areas of Cork city to improve education outcomes, health, wellbeing, and quality of life.
“UCC is a partner with Music Generation Cork, supporting children and young people, and Cork Northside communities, with access to music education. UCC, Applied Social Studies, is a research partner in the Cork City Council Northwest Regeneration programme, providing research and evaluation support.
“UCC's Department of Music is located in Sunday’s Well and UCC’s Distillery Fields campus is located on the North Mall and is home to our School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences and School of Applied Psychology. UCC will continue to work in partnership with communities to ensure education is accessible to all,” the spokesman added.
A spokeswoman for MTU toldthey currently have no plans for such a campus development.