Varadkar calls on ITs in south-east to 're-double' efforts to be designated a 'technological university'

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photo: PA

Laura Larkin

TAOISEACH Leo Varadkar has called on two ITs in the south east of the country to "redouble" efforts to be designated a 'technological university'.

Mr Varadkar was joined by three Cabinet colleagues at DIT's Grangegorman campus to confirm the designation of the country's first such university.

TU Dublin marks a merger of three institutions: Dublin Institute of Technology, Institute of Technology Blanchardstown and Institute of Technology Tallaght. The three came together to apply for the designation and are the first to qualify for the new status under legislation passed by the government earlier this year.

Mr Varadkar told guests his only "regret" is that the government is not also announcing a similar designation for Carlow and Waterford IT in the south east of the country, which is the only region without a university.

"I strongly encourage Waterford IT and Carlow IT to redouble their efforts and get it done as soon as possible. Government is waiting to sign off as soon as you meet the criteria for redesignation," he said.

Meanwhile, the new university was welcomed by government as a "milestone" in education in Ireland.

Funding of €4.4m was also announced today for the university for 2019.

It is expected the university will be established in January next year.

A similar university is to be established in Connaught and Ulster also.

Among the requirements set out to qualify for the status of technological university the institution is mandated to promote regional development in the area where it is located.

Speaking today Mr Varadkar said:

“Making higher education accessible to all is the best way to make Ireland a country of equal opportunities. Already, there are more people from non-traditional backgrounds attending higher education than ever before and I want that to increase,” he said.