Seanad debates

Wednesday, 3 November 2021

Nithe i dtosach suíonna - Commencement Matters

Technological Universities

10:30 am

Photo of Simon HarrisSimon Harris (Wicklow, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

My comments on the HQ are as they are but the bigger win and the bigger prize here for Waterford and the south east is the establishment of a technological university, the status that will bring to the region, the opportunities that will provide for increasing foreign direct investment, capital investment, research funding, international recognition and becoming a catalyst in a region that sometimes feels it has been left behind for development and socioeconomic progression and innovation. We sometimes throw words around in politics but I really believe this has the ability to be transformational for the south east. It is not just my belief but the belief of so many stakeholders, the business community and student groups as well.

On borrowing, I remain committed to working intensively with my colleagues in Government to ensure we can continue to increase investment across the technological university agenda. We have a transformation fund with €90 million in it. In the Government's national recovery and resilience plan there is an additional €40 million for the technological universities. We have the highest ever per capitabudget for higher education in our State and we now have access to borrowing by TUs and ITs for student accommodation in a way that was not there before, but I will continue to engage with the Senator on this. As recommended by the seminal TU Research Network, TURN, report, a fully-resourced, state-of-the-art, digitally-connected TU with attractive student-centric environments will strongly assist in the delivery of national strategic objectives on higher education. Yesterday was a big step forward but nobody, least of all me, is suggesting it is the end of the conversation. It is just the beginning of the next step of a new and exciting journey. I thank the Senator for all his work on this.


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