Tuesday, 26 January 2016
Technological Universities Bill 2015: Report Stage
I thank the Minister for the engagement and extensive discussion on Committee Stage and the follow-up meeting with officials, as promised by her. It was good that some of the points we made on Committee Stage were taken on board for Report Stage, but there are still major concerns.
I was outside tonight at the protest organised by the Teachers' Union of Ireland and there is clearly a great deal of anger, frustration and concern among its members. The common denominator that I noted was the assumption they had made, based on the Minister's statement that this was complex legislation, that adequate time would be provided to examine its complexities. They did not expect the Minister to rush the Bill.
The introduction of technological universities is a good and positive idea in principle and one to which no one objects. However, the concerns of TUI members have not been addressed. The union does not regard the briefings provided by the Minister as engagement. The concerns it expressed have not been taken on board.
On the amendment, the text, as it stands, requires colleges to merge before they can apply for technological university status. What will happen in the case of institutes of technology that merge but whose application for technological university status is subsequently rejected? What are the implications for merged colleges in such a scenario?