IRELAND is to secure a new university with the Government decision to sanction the merger of Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) and Institute of Technology Tralee (ITT).
The new unified Munster Technology University (MTU) will boast six campus facilities across Cork and Kerry and almost 23,000 students.
It aims to develop and expand already deep linkages between both Cork and Kerry facilities and high tech industries in the engineering, IT and pharmaceutical-biotech areas.
Tánaiste Simon Coveney said it was an historic decision by the Government and Education Minister Joe McHugh.
"The Government will confirm the creation of the Munster Technology University (MTU) which will be an amalgamation of CIT and ITT. This has been something that CIT has been leading on and working towards for three years now," he said.
"But more importantly it means we are going to have a second university in Cork and it is going to mean an opportunity for a significant increase in campus investment.
"This is big news and very positive news for Cork and Kerry."
CIT President Dr Barry O'Connor played a central role in helping deliver MTU which was first proposed over a decade ago.
It is the second technological university created in Ireland in two years. The former Dublin Institute of Technology (CIT) merged with IT Tallaght and IT Blanchardstown to become the new Technological University Dublin (TU Dublin), which launched in January 2019
Education Minister Joe McHugh was last month given clarifying details on the proposed Munster Technology University (MTU) merger by the consortium partners which aims to keep Ireland at the forefront of global technology, engineering excellence and world class research and development.
MTU partners insisted the new university will play a crucial role in the recovery of the southern region from the coronavirus crisis - and provide critical future support for the pharmaceutical, medical, engineering and IT sectors.
The Cork and Kerry colleges boast a total of six campuses and the proposal to merge them to create a 'super technology' university was first mooted in 2009.
CIT has 17,000 full and part-time students while ITT has almost 4,000.
"Notwithstanding the current crisis, the MTU consortium, in compliance with the instructions of Minister McHugh, responded to the minister on the specific clarifications he had sought regarding the application for MTU to be designated as the State’s second Technological University," a CIT/ITT spokesperson said.
"The designation as a technology university will enable MTU to play a leading role in the recovery of the Munster region post COVID-19, sustaining and developing community and economy."
MTU partners insisted the new entity will help deliver on the strategic aims set out for Ireland in the Technological University Research Network (TURN) blueprint.
"The MTU consortium wishes staff, students and the wider community well in this current crisis, and looks forward to playing its role in the recovery process."
In 2018, MTU was awarded €2m by the Department of Education to work on the development of its TU status.
Some €2.3m was awarded in 2017.
The merger will now create a university that can rival older colleges in terms of student numbers, financial clout and industrial linkages.