Thursday, January 28, 2021

IT Carlow President Dr Patricia Mulcahy and her WIT counterpart, Professor Willie Donnelly.
Photo: George Goulding

THE Presidents of Waterford and Carlow’s Institutes of Technology co-chaired the inaugural meeting of the Technological University of the South East’s (TUSEI) Regional Engagement Advisory Group this afternoon.

According to a WIT spokesperson: “The presidents emphasised the importance of the technological university to the social and economic development of the south east and their shared ambition to deepen that engagement as the technological university develops.”

Both presidents also welcomed comments made by Higher Education Minister Simon Harris’s today, which they described as “a further demonstration of the commitment of the Government to the development of TUSEI”.

Said Minister Harris: “This region is the only one without any university presence and that is a situation that is not good for the region and which must and will be rectified.

“The benefits of a TU are significant –the ability to attract Foreign Direct Investment, to retain and create skills and employment in the region and to give students the highest quality education across all qualification levels, from apprenticeship to doctoral degrees, whilst residing in their own locality.”

He added: “I want also to emphasise that this is a TU for everyone in the region not just for Waterford or for Carlow but also for Wexford, Kilkenny, Wicklow, Laois and Kildare.”

Matt Shanahan’s concerns

Independent Waterford TD Matt Shanahan.

This comment caught the eye of Independent Waterford TD Matt Shanahan, who stated: “Minister Harris’s statement today on (the) TU denotes South East region now includes Wicklow, Kildare and Laois – For heart attack care the SE region doesn’t extend past South Kilkenny!”

Deputy Shanahan said: “I feel the politics to diminish WIT in ongoing TU discussions are now being rolled out. It can’t be long before Waterford voters will be made to cast voting ballots outside the City and County – in the interests of ‘’fairness’’ and ‘South East interests!’”

Reflecting on today’s meeting, WIT President Willie Donnelly said: “The members of the advisory group will help us succeed in the final stages of achieving what has been a long-held ambition here in the south east – to establish a university of international standing in and for the region and they will support its development long into the future.”

His Carlow IT counterpart Dr Patricia Mulcahy stated: “TUSEI will be of, and for, the south east, but with a national and global perspective and reach. Our local stakeholders have been a key part of our story to-date and will remain so.”

Higher Education Minister Simon Harris.

Minister Harris, who is meeting regularly with Tom Boland, the TUSE’s independent programme Executive Director in relation to the project, declared: “I want the TU that emerges in the South East to be a magnet for investment, a driver of regional access and development of all types and a catalyst for innovation and change.”

“This region has suffered greatly in successive global economic and financial crises and is crying out for an anchor within the higher education and enterprise landscape that can deliver real change and prosperity; I firmly believe this is what the new TU will do.”

Simon Harris concluded: “I want the people of the South East not to have to cast covetous glances at Dublin or Cork or Galway but to be proud that they have a university every bit as good if not better than the excellent provision in those cities and others.”

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