THE FUTURE of St. Angela's College is secure with home economics teacher education set to continue.
That's the early Christmas present delivered by Sligo-born Minister Joe Costello, Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
While a formal announcement is awaited from Education Minister Ruairi Quinn, Minister Costello told the launch of international education programmes at the Clogherevagh campus: "I can assure you that the delivery of home economics teacher education at St. Angela's will continue into the future.
"There are no short or medium term proposals to the contrary.
"The specialist nature of the training and the quality of the facilities in St. Angela's ensured that outcome."
College President Dr. Anne Taheny welcomed Minister Costello's statement.
Dr. Taheny led a delegation to Leinster House to put the case for the retention of the B. Ed. Home Economics course.
She also met with the Chief Executive Officer of the Higher Education Authority, Mr. Tom Boland, in recent weeks.
Dr. Taheny said: "The community at St. Angela's welcome and look forward with optimism to the outcomes of the process in due course."
The St. Angela's President had warned that transferring the course to NUI Galway would have a "significant detrimental effect" on the college.
She said: "The removal of the teacher education programme has the potential to undermine the future of the college."
Junior Minister John Perry held a meeting with the President of NUI Galway, Dr. James Browne yesterday.
He said: We discussed the plan of action in the context of the continuance of St. Angela's operating as a facet of NUIG in providing the home economics teacher training programme.
"St. Angela's has a bright future ahead and will remain a vital component of the National University of Ireland structure."
Last week, Junior Minister John Perry said he had been given an undertaking from Minister Quinn that the Home Economics degree programme would remain at St. Angela's.
Minister of State Joe Costello was in Clogherevagh on Friday afternoon to launch the international education programmes.
He said: "I have every belief that St. Angela's will continue into the next century, not to talk about the next millennium.
"I have spoken to the Minister and he is very pleased with the manner in which negotiations are going.
"I look forward to the formal decision."
The Indian Ambassador to Ireland, Mr. Debashish Chakravarti also visited St. Angela's for the launch of the international education programmes last Friday.