Tuesday, 15 October 2019
Department of Education and Skills
Technological Universities Status
181. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the mechanism by which a Cork Institute of Technology will not take on the debts of IT Tralee in the event that they merge to form a new university; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41632/19]
I issued a letter to the Chairs of the Governing Bodies of IT Tralee and CIT in relation to the application from their institutions for designation as a Technological University.
In the letter I stated:
“I also note that the report of the advisory panel raised questions regarding the resolution of financial deficits at IT Tralee, stating that the panel did not receive information about plans to address them. I understand that the HEA is currently awaiting a stability and sustainability plan in respect of IT Tralee, to be finalised by the end of this month. On receipt of this plan the HEA will be required to assess it and engage further with the Institute, if necessary, to secure further measures in the plan. I will be advised of the assessment by the HEA and, subject to a positive assessment and an endorsement by HEA of the plan, I propose to initiate a working group to consider the requirement for additional funding support to respond to the systemic structural challenges of the Institute. These challenges arise from, for example, the Institute’s small size, peripheral location, the demographic profile of its catchment area and the high level of competition it experiences from other HEIs in the region. The MTU Working Group will be composed of all key stakeholders and consistent with the similar approaches adopted previously for other institutions that have experienced financial difficulty. A major element of the work of this group will be to assess how the potential transition to a TU provides opportunities to significantly strengthen the profile and offering in Tralee.
As manifested in the high-level of financial support provided to date to IT Tralee, the Government is committed to the continued provision of higher education in Kerry and more widely in the South –West region. In that context, there is no question that the actions to secure a resolution to the financial difficulties in IT Tralee would be expected to give rise to creation of a potential financial burden that would have the effect of undermining the financial stability, sustainability and development of the potential MTU.”
The question of a mechanism raised by the Deputy does not therefore arise.