A Fine Gael Fingal TD has called for a third-level educational institute for Swords, “to unlock skills and take Ireland into the next decade.”
Deputy Alan Farrell was speaking in the Dáil recently, when he called for a third-level college for the Fingal county town.
Deputy Farrell said there was a “clear deficiency” in further and higher education facilities in Fingal and Swords, and called for “significant investment” in towns like Swords and Balbriggan.
Deputy Farrell said: “As previously discussed with the Minister and, indeed, Education and Training Boards Ireland, ETBI, in recent weeks, there is a clear deficiency in further and higher education facilities in Fingal, specifically, in Swords, the county town and one of the fastest growing communities in the country with a population expected to exceed 100,000 people in the next decade.
“The services are currently met by facilities which are perhaps reflective of prior policies of 20 or 30 years ago. The emphasis the Minister has placed on the enhancement of further and higher education in Ireland is welcome, including the very significant increase in budgets that the education and training boards, ETBs, have mentioned for delivery nationwide.”
Deputy Farrell said that Swords, in particular, offered the possibility of developing and delivering additional facilities that can “unlock skills and take Ireland into the next decade.”
He commended the Minister for his “relentless focus” on further education and training (FET), which he said is available on CAO applications this year, and the development of apprenticeships in existing and emerging sectors such as cybersecurity.
The Fine Gael Deputy said that with Fingal being the most diverse and youngest community in Europe, “on that basis”, there should be significant further investment by the Department in Swords and in communities like Balbriggan, which has seen dramatic growth in recent decades.
He said: “Fifteen years ago the population of Balbriggan was 6,000 to 7,000 and now it is in excess of 20,000. However, there are gaps and I believe that Fingal is one such gap that can be addressed, in particular with the additional emphasis that has been placed by the Government and the Minister on this sector.
“In order to meet the need to give people the option both at local and national level to meet the skills required in the coming decades, it is crucial that we invest in the long-term health of the nation and its long-term education.
"Moreover, by providing these services in areas of maximum impact that will be key to this goal, Swords offers the Department a chance to make a significant impact on a young and growing population."
Deputy Farrell said he “fully expects” the coming census to show the population of Swords is “far above 55,000, if not 60,000”
He hoped, he said, the Minister along with the Education and Training Boards Ireland (ETBI) and the Dublin and Dún Laoghaire Education and Training Board, (DDLETB), would look upon Swords as a suitable location for a third level institute, given its proximity to the city but also the significant young population located there.
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