Dáil debates

Thursday, 4 November 2021

Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate

Technological Universities

5:30 pm

Photo of Marc Ó CathasaighMarc Ó Cathasaigh (Waterford, Green Party) | Oireachtas source

I could not possibly expect the Minister to delve into the differences between an IoT and a technological university in four minutes. However, it does need to be an ongoing conversation. We need to make that clear and it needs to be more than words. It needs to be backed up by actions and by capital investment in particular.

I did not touch on the issue of the headquarters of the new institution. I know that lies outside the Minister's gift but it is very important to the people of Waterford and I ask the Minister to keep it in mind. I and other Deputies have spoken to the Minister about this on this on many occasions. I would be interested in there being a more definite timeline for the recruitment of the president and, in particular, what steps we will take to make sure the person we recruit for that role will be the person who is required and who has that full range of talents necessary to drive on the institution, because just as WIT was the flagship institute of technology in the country, I fully expect the technological university of the south east to be the flagship TU in the country. I will be very disappointed if we do not step up the mark in that regard.

To make a brief point on capital investment, there is an issue around the depreciation of the built stock, especially on the WIT campus. That is an historical legacy. Our plans for capital investment in a new and expanded campus must take account of the fact that much of the built stock that exists on the Cork Road campus in particular is ageing and is either midway through or beyond its life cycle. That also sits with the climate action plan that was announced today. We need buildings there that perform and which are fit for purpose, both for students and for our climate and energy needs into the future. I would ask the Minister to reflect on those points.


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