ITT merger a step closer

Simon Brouder

The proposed merger of IT Tralee and Cork Institute of Technology has moved a step closer following news that the Technological Universities Bill has now made its way through the Dáil.

The bill was passed by the Dáil last week and it has now been sent forward to the Seanad for approval.

Senators began debating the bill last Monday and it is expected the upper house will ratify it within a matter weeks.

The bill -if passed - will allow for Ireland's 13 Institutes of Technology to merge and form four Technical Universities, these will include the Munster Technological University which will be formed by the merger of IT Tralee and CIT.

Management of both Institutes insist that that neither will see its educational offering lessened or suffer major staffing changes.

IT Tralee's standing in the potential new partnership with CIT will be boosted by the development of the new multi million Sports Academy which is currently under construction at IT Tralee's north campus in Dromthacker.

Higher Education Minister Mary Mitchell O'Connor welcomed the Dáil's decision to approve the bill which was first proposed in 2015.

"The legislation, when enacted, will underpin the development of a new type of higher education institution, building on the strengths and mission of the institutes of technology to develop world class technological universities," she said.

"The creation of technological universities provides the opportunity to drive regional development and provide more opportunities for individuals, enterprise and the community," said the Minister.

The bill's passage is a "milestone" in progressing the legislation according to Minister Mitchell O'Connor.

Management at IT Tralee have welcomed the news and say they are looking forward to what lies ahead.