Thursday, 19 May 2022
Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions
I thank the Deputy for raising this matter and arranging for me to meet members of the Teachers' Union of Ireland when I visited DkIT. I was delighted to do so and will be delighted to have a further meeting with them in due course.
As the Deputy is well aware, DkIT is currently pursuing a trajectory to achieve technological university status. Let me be very clear: the north east must not and will not be left behind when it comes to having a technological university. It is key to have university status in the north east. We know how we got here, and no one needs a history lesson about this. It is now about the future and getting this done. We now have circumstances in which the governing body, staff representative bodies, executive management team and student union all have the same vision. They all want the institute to become a technological university.
The Government and Department have provided financial assistance through the technological university transformation fund and we have appointed Dr. Ruaidhrí Neavyn as an expert adviser through the Higher Education Authority to help DkIT achieve the metrics required. I am delighted the institute is availing of those services and was very pleased to meet Dr. Neavyn when I visited DkIT.
Substantial progress has been made in delivering technological universities across the country. Every single application I received has been processed, allowing each applicant to become a technological university. DkIT's ambition to become part of a multi-campus technological university will require to be considered under the legislative approach prescribed in section 38 of the 2018 Act for the merger of an institute of technology with an existing technological university. It is a matter for any stand-alone institute to engage with an existing technological university on the merits of its incorporation.
Realistically, as three of the five technological universities have been established only since October last, it is required that these conversations take place directly with the institute and the other parties concerned. However, as soon as we receive any application or any progress on metrics from DkIT, we will proceed with the utmost urgency and support from the Government, my Department and all the Oireachtas Members in Louth, including Deputy Nash.