Thursday, 5 March 2020
Department of Education and Skills
Cross-Border Educational Provision
297. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if his Department has been approached regarding the possibility of a new cross-Border university linking a college (details supplied) with IT Letterkenny; if so, his views on same; the progress made to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3475/20]
I can inform the Deputy that no such approach has been made to the Department, nor is there the legislative basis for any such arrangement.
Letterkenny Institute of Technology is part of the Connacht Ulster Alliance (CUA) TU development consortium together with Galway Mayo IT and IT Sligo, which is working on plans to submit an application seeking an order for establishment as a technological university under the Technological Universities Act 2018. It is understood that an application is aimed to be submitted by CUA in Quarter 4 of 2020.
LYIT has a close working relationship with third level institutions in Derry. In 2018 and 2019 Letterkenny Institute of Technology received a total of €0.75 million in Exchequer funding under the Higher Education Authority calls for proposals for higher education landscape restructuring projects. The projects funded were aimed at strengthening collaborative cross-border strategic alliance building and co-operation between higher education and further education and training institutions such as Letterkenny IT, Donegal ETB, North West Regional College and Ulster University, including in the wider context of strengthening the reach of any future TU if established in the region.
As stated in the “New Decade, New Approach” agreement in relation to the restoration of devolved government in Northern Ireland, the Government welcomes the development of plans for ambitious new higher education provision in Derry. This investment can support more access to third-level education for young people on a cross-border basis, enable further cooperation between third-level institutions in the North West including in research and innovation, and underpin broader economic development and opportunities in the region. The Government is willing in principle to contribute to capital investment to support expanded provision at Ulster University Magee Campus, alongside the commitment made as part of this agreement by the UK Government and looks forward to early discussion at the North South Ministerial Council on taking forward this coordinated investment in order to deliver this vital project for the North West region.