Taoiseach confirms creation of new Munster Technological University
Merger of institutes of technology in Cork and Tralee will cater for 18,000 students
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar: ‘The establishment of the Munster Technological University will stimulate a more balanced growth of population and employment across Ireland.’ Photograph: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has announced the creation of the Munster Technological University involving Cork Institute of Technology and Institute of Technology Tralee and has hailed it as an important day for the south west.
Mr Varadkar, Minister for Education Joe McHugh and Minister of State for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor confirmed that the CIT and ITT consortium had been successful in its application for university status.
“The Government has a very clear ambition to expand and consolidate higher education facilities, to boost economic development across the country and to attract research funding,” said Mr Varadkar.
“Technological universities are central to delivering on this. The establishment of the Munster Technological University will stimulate a more balanced growth of population and employment across Ireland.
“It will make it easier to secure foreign direct investment and provide quality jobs in the region. This new TU [technical university] in Munster will be a driver of regional development, and it will help to make higher education more accessible.
Mr McHugh said the development of the new university from these two institutes would bring enormous benefit to the higher education landscape, to both institutions’ communities and stakeholders and to the region.
“Both institutes have worked hard and overcome challenges to meet the conditions stipulated so that it is possible to announce this decision, and subject to the relevant Oireachtas process, proceed to award TU status.”
Ms Mitchell O’Connor, who piloted the Technological Universities 2018 Act through the Oireachtas, said the plan to merge CIT and ITT into a technological university has received endorsement from the Higher Education Authority.
The new Munster Technological University will come into effect on January 1st, 2021, after a draft ministerial order has been approved by both the Dáil and Seanad which will also see the dissolution of both Cork IT and IT Tralee.
The new university will cater for 18,000 students spread across five campuses at CIT Bishopstown, IT Tralee, CIT School of Music, CIT Crawford College of Art and Design and the National Maritime College of Ireland in Ringaskiddy.
The confirmation was welcomed by Bob Savage, Chair of CIT’s governing body and Lionel Alexander, Chair of ITT’s governing body.
Mr Savage said: “This is a monumental day for both CIT and ITT. Acting together, CIT and ITT have built on our individual strengths, our extensive experience and passion for education and entrepreneurship to create MTU.
“Our collective staff, students, and stakeholders have been instrumental in bringing us to this day. Together, we now look forward to the future and the creation of MTU in 2021 - a new university for a new era.”
Mr Alexander said: “The two institutes share an ethos of excellence, an ambition to serve the needs of our communities, and a vision of higher education provision that is innovative, responsive and entrepreneurial.”
The new creation of the MTU, which will have over 2,000 staff and offer more than 140 courses and programmes, has also been warmly welcomed by both CIT President Dr Barry O’Connor and ITT President, Dr Brendan O’Donnell.