Third-level college with 1,000 students proposed for Kilkenny
City’s Abbey Quarter selected for campus focused on crafts, heritage and agri-food
A Kilkenny County Council report says there is an educational, social and economic case for locating a higher education campus to cater for 1,000 students in the city. Photograph: Pat Moore.
A new third-level college should be created in an urban renewal area of Kilkenny city focusing on design, crafts, animation, heritage, tourism and the agri-food sectors, according to a new report.
The report, which will be launched by Minister of State Mary Mitchell O’Connor on Monday, recommends the proposed 1,000-student campus should tie in with plans for a Technological University of the South East (TUSE) which is being jointly pursued by Waterford IT and IT Carlow.
The project is earmarked for the Abbey Quarter urban renewal zone in the heart of Kilkenny city.
Commissioned by Kilkenny County Council the report argues there is an educational, social and economic case for locating a higher education campus to cater for 1,000 students in Kilkenny.
Kilkenny is already home to many successful design and craft industries and is well-represented in the animation, food, tourism and agri-businesses, it points out. The report also says the medieval city and county is well-positioned to exploit niche areas to create a centre of excellence.
‘Areas of expertise’
Speaking in advance of the launch, Ms Mitchell O’Connor said Kilkenny was synonymous with high-quality Irish craft and design as well as the agri-food industry “and a third-level campus would serve to further build on these areas of expertise and strengthen the county’s economy”.
While Ms Mitchell O’Connor warned of “the limitations in the exchequer finances in funding capital expenditure for third-level buildings”, the council said it had the economic case to justify the investment.
“We also have the right space to provide for a third-level campus” said Colette Byrne, chief executive of Kilkenny County Council. “The Abbey Quarter urban renewal project in the heart of Kilkenny city would be greatly enhanced with a vibrant academic community, in keeping with the Abbey Quarter masterplan,” she said.
Design guidelines have recently been adopted for the Abbey Quarter, “which will support the early delivery of a third-level campus”, she added.
The report noted that a steering group for the establishment of a technological university of the southeast is due to publish its strategy by September.