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Government must deliver university for Waterford and the Southeast – Cullinane

9 November, 2011

Speaking during a Seanad debate on the need for a university for Waterford and the Southeast Sinn Féin Senator David Cullinane said the government must deliver on this urgently and end the injustice of Waterford and the Southeast being denied a university.

Senator Cullinane said the region can no longer afford to wait and talk of criteria, hurdles and process is no longer acceptable.

Speaking in the Seanad today Senator Cullinane said:

“I have raised this important issue many times in this house. It is critical for Waterford and the Southeast that the government urgently designates Waterford Institute of Technology as a university. Waterford City is the only Gateway City without a university. The Southeast region is the only region without a university. This long standing injustice must come to an end.

“Huge investment has been made in WIT over many years. The State has invested €300 million over the last decade. This has resulted in the development of the ICT building, the Nurse Education Building, the Enterprise Research Centre, the Tourism Building, the Telecommunications Software and Systems Group (TSSG) and the Eco Labs. All of the building blocks have been put in place. We now need government action.

“I welcome recent announcements from the Minister that he will accelerate the issue and the tasking of the Higher Education Authority with developing criteria and examining performance. It is vital that in whatever decision is made Waterford and the Southeast are in the top tier of university provision. Rebranding numerous ITs as second tier universities will not be enough for Waterford. A name change will deliver little.

“Waterford and the Southeast must be in the top tier of university provision. The funding, autonomy and branding this will entail will lift the region. It will not solve all our problems but it will allow us to operate on a level playing field. I again urge the Minister to not only deliver on the issue but to deliver the appropriate response. Nothing short of a fully-fledged university on par with the top tier universities in this state will do.”

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