First governing body appointed for new Atlantic Technological University

Maura McNally appointed chair of body of university comprising institutes in the west

The first governing body of the new Atlantic Technological University, which will open its doors in April of this year, has been appointed on Friday by Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris.

Atlantic Technological University includes several existing institutes of technology, such as Galway-Mayo, Sligo and Letterkenny.

The institutes of technology will cease to exist when they form part of the new university serving the west and north west of Ireland on April 1st, 2022.

Maura McNally, chair of the Bar Council of Ireland, has been appointed chair of the first governing body of the new ATU.

She is the second ever-female head of the body that represents the bulk of the State’s barristers. Ms McNally was also named Irish woman lawyer of the year in 2020.

Ms McNally would bring a “vast and invaluable wealth of experience to the role, which will be crucial in steering the new Technological University through its formation,” Minister Harris said.

Ms McNally will be assisted by entrepreneur and author Oonagh Monahan, who is founder and managing director of Alpha Omega Consultants Ltd, and Felim McNeela, who has been on the governing board of IT Sligo for several years and is the founder of Avenue Mould Solutions.

Both will act as external members of the governing body, along with chief executive of Donegal ETB, Anne McHugh.

Ms McHugh was the nominee of all three Education and Training Boards in whose areas the TU multi-campuses are located.

The first governing body is charged with filling the remaining posts on the governing body from cohorts including undergraduate and postgraduate students, academic and non-academic staff as well as a number of additional external members.

It is planned that the new ATU will provide higher educational programmes across all levels, from apprenticeships to doctoral level qualifications.

Students of the current three institutes who graduate in this academic year of 2021/2022 will do so with university qualifications.

The multi-campus technological university will involve thousands of students spread across locations in Castlebar, Galway city, Killybegs, Letterfrack, Letterkenny, Mountbellew and Sligo.

Atlantic Technological University will be the latest technological university to be created in recent years and follows a policy of restructuring the higher education landscape.

The first technological university in the State was TU Dublin, based on a merger of the former institutes of technology in the capital. It was established in January 2019.

It has been followed by a Munster Technological University – formerly Cork IT and IT Tralee – last January and the Technological University of the Shannon: Midlands Midwest, which was announced last October.

A technological university for the southeast region – based on the merger of IT Carlow and Waterford IT – is on course to be established next year.