Dundalk and the north east “will not be left behind when it comes to having a Technological University” (TU) Education Minister Simon Harris said this week.
Hopes that progress is being made in DkIT’s bid for TU status were raised in the Dail by Louth TD’s Ged Nash and Ruairí Ó Murchú, who both sought an update.
The Minister confirmed that “it is key to have university status in the north east” and spoke of his recent visit to the institute where he met with staff, students and teaching unions.
“We now have circumstances in which the governing body, staff representative bodies, executive management team and student union all have the same vision. They all want the institute to become a technological university.”
“The Government and Department have provided financial assistance through the technological university transformation fund and we have appointed Dr. Ruaidhrí Neavyn as an expert adviser through the Higher Education Authority to help DkIT achieve the metrics required. I am delighted the institute is availing of those services and was very pleased to meet Dr. Neavyn when I visited DkIT.”
He said that Realistically, as three of the five technological universities have been established only since October last, it is required that these conversations take place directly with the institute and the other parties concerned. However, as soon as we receive any application or any progress on metrics from DkIT, we will proceed with the utmost urgency and support from the Government.
Deputy Nash told the Minister that “Every time I read about the creation of a new technological university in this country, my heart sinks. This is because Dundalk is isolated and has been left stranded. I see every announcement as a missed opportunity for DkIT and its students. The delays and obfuscation over the past few years have been inexcusable.
“I acknowledge that the DkIT metrics are good and going in the right direction. All the evidence suggests that DkIT would be a very strong partner in any consortium with technological university status.”
Meanwhile Dundalk TD Ruairí Ó Murchú said that families who are sending students to Dundalk IT ‘need TU status for the college’.
“I have had my own meetings lately at which I have heard some positive information in regard to criteria being met. However, there still are major worries.” Deputy Ó Murchú.
He added: “There have been a number of missteps and we know the route map will be through the provisions of section 38 of the Technological Universities Act 2018. We need to ensure it happens.”
“The Minister probably has met those involved with the regional development centre and has seen the huge impact DkIT is having in regard to research, the whole M1 Border corridor area and also in regard to business innovation, including its involvement with Enterprise Ireland and all the other agencies.”
“The one point everybody involved makes is the absolute necessity of ensuring DkIT reaches technological university status. Parents and students need that too.”