Timeline for upgrade of Waterford IT to university sought


THE GOVERNMENT has been urged to give a timeline for the fast-track upgrading of Waterford Institute of Technology to a full university following confirmation that the Cabinet is committed to such a move.

Waterford Chamber of Commerce welcomed the announcement that the Government had moved to accelerate the setting up of a university in the southeast, with Waterford IT likely to be upgraded to a technological university under the proposals.

According to Waterford Chamber of Commerce president Anne Marie Caulfield, the upgrading of WIT to a technological university could offer the southeast an economic boost.

Ms Caulfield said a 2005 Goodbody report commissioned by Waterford Chamber revealed that a university could generate up to €96 million annually for the southeast. Further reports commissioned by Waterford chamber in 2007 and 2008 showed university-designated third- and fourth-level education must be delivered in Waterford if the southeast was to improve on its poor economic performance relative to the rest of the State, she added.

Earlier this month, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton said the Cabinet had decided to give priority to the promise in the programme for government. It was one part of a three-pronged approach to the jobs crisis in the southeast which would also involve IDA Ireland and the Department of Social Protection.

The department is sending officials to Waterford next week to assist the 575 people who lost their jobs at TalkTalk, Mr Bruton added.