ITT merger plan nears completion

Simon Brouder

The Institute of Technology's planned merger with Cork Institute of Technology is moving ahead and  a decision from the review panel overseeing the process could be made by the end of June.

In February - following six years of merger negotiations - IT Tralee and CIT submitted  a formal joint application to amalgamate and become the Munster Technological University (MTU).

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If it all goes according to plan the MTU will become Ireland's second technological university after TU Dublin, which was established in January.

The application was been sent to Education Minister Joe McHugh and the MTU consortium hopes it will pass through all necessary steps by the summer, allowing it to open in the next academic year under its new branding.

To be considered for TU designation, institutes of technology are required to merge and meet certain criteria. Cork IT and IT Tralee have been working towards achieving the creation of MTU since 2013. The process has taken several dramatic steps forward since the beginning of the year.

On foot of the colleges' formal application in February an audit to examine if the MTU proposal meets the required criteria was carried by Deloitte in March.

Members of the International Review Panel that will make a ruling on the application to the Higher Education Authority  are due to visit both IT Tralee and CIT through April and May.

The panel is due to issue its formal recommendation on the MTU application by the end of June at which point Minister McHugh will make a final decision on whether or not to grant the university status to the combined colleges.

If the application is successful the creation of the MTU will see over 18,000 people studying in six individual campuses across the two counties.