Higher Education Minister Simon Harris has today said that he is “eager to push forward with the technological university agenda”.
In a tweet, Harris said that technological universities were a “priority for government”.
“Technological Universities & [Institutes] of Technology have a major role to play in our economic & social recovery”, he added.
Technological universities were a staple of former TD Mary Mitchell O’Connor’s tenure as minister of state for higher education.
In January, Mitchell O’Connor and former Minister for Education Joe McHugh announced the creation of another four technological universities by 2025, marking the end of institutes of technology around the country.
Mitchell O’Connor said she hoped that “two or three of the TUs can be established in the next two to three years”, but warned that the “fourth may take a little longer, as there are three Institutes of Technology involved”.
Technological University Dublin was established formally in January 2018, with the other four at various stages of completion.
Limerick IT and Athlone IT are set to merge, as well as Cork IT and IT Tralee, Waterford IT and IT Carlow, and GMIT, IT Sligo, and Letterkenny IT.
Yesterday, according to WaterfordLive, Labour councillors hit out at the government for delays in establishing the Technological University for the South East (TUSE).
The councillors said that if progress hadn’t been made on TUSE by September, the government should support Waterford Institute of Technology’s application for university status.
The proposed merger of Cork IT and IT Tralee into a new technological university suffered a huge blow last summer, after an international assessment panel sounded the alarm over its financial sustainability.
The biggest issue, according to the Irish Times, is the uncertainty surrounding the financial wellbeing of IT Tralee, with Cork IT reportedly unwilling to take on the Kerry institute’s debts in the case of a merger.