Approval for Connacht-Ulster university plan
Plans are in train for a fourth technological university - this time in the west and north-west.
The Connacht Ulster Alliance (CUA), involving Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT), IT Sligo and Letterkenny IT, has been approved by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) to move to the second stage in the process of becoming a new-style university. It joins similar groupings of institutes of technology in Dublin, Munster and the south-east, in pursuit of the elevated status.
Now the CUA has to prepare a plan to meet the strict criteria to become a technological university and Education Minister Jan O'Sullivan said that the consortium had significant work to do to achieve the standards required.
Ms O'Sullivan said the Higher Education Authority board had highlighted a number of issues and challenges that would need to be addressed.
The three institute presidents said that the proposed multi-campus university would be a strong institution with the capacity to stimulate economic growth across the most geographically dispersed region in the country.
An alliance involving Dublin Institute of Technology, IT Blanchardstown and IT Tallaght is the most advanced on the road to designation as a technological university and has completed the third stage of the process. The Munster consortium, comprising Cork IT and IT Tralee, has also completed the third stage.
Plans for a technological university in the south-east hit difficulties but new discussions are under way involving Waterford IT and IT Carlow.