David Cullinane TD launches a framework for a Technological University of the Southeast
Sinn Féin TD for Waterford David Cullinane has today launched a comprehensive discussion document on a Technological University of the Southeast.
Deputy Cullinane said that the Southeast needs a University that is focussed on the social and economic needs of the region and one that acts as an engine driving creativity and growth.
Speaking at the launch Deputy Cullinane said:
“The Southeast is the only region in the state without a University. This wrong needs to be put right.
“The Southeast needs a University which is focused on the social and economic needs of the region and its people.
“It is crucial that a Technological University of the Southeast has the ability to borrow, receives baseline funding for R&D, is independent and is fully autonomous. There needs to be a level playing field for Institutes of Technology with existing Universities.
“It is vital that the Minister brings forward amending legislation to underpin Technological Universities. I am recommending a change in sequencing to allow the International Panel of Experts to play a role much earlier.
“There are very real concerns from both institutes that a merger without guarantee of success would be detrimental to the region. There also concerns from Trade Unions that the merger process is more about rationalisation and cutting jobs.
“It is vital that a sustainable funding model is put in place. Waterford Institute of Technology had its core funding cut from €40m in 2008 to €26m in 2016. At present 85% of core funding is for payroll costs. This is unsustainable.
“A Technological University also needs a capital investment plan. There is an obvious need to progress plans to build an engineering block on the grounds of WIT and an extension of laboratory space to increase life sciences based subjects.
“A Technological University will need a Governance centre or Hub. Each campus will need a head of campus accountable to the main Governance centre. It is recommended that the main centre be based in Waterford.
“I am anxious that the promise to deliver a Technological University in Waterford is implemented. It is crucial that the Southeast is operating on a level playing field.
"Today I am engaging with stakeholders across the region and will be holding meetings with the Presidents and Executive bodies of both institutes.”