Prospect of University campus for Kilkenny city moves step closer
By COLIN BARTLEY
THE possibility of a university campus in Kilkenny is one step closer today.
A key agreement has been reached between the stakeholders involved in the long-awaited Technological University for the South East (TUSE), a planned amalgamation of two existing institutes of technology in the region, Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) and IT Carlow.
A Memorandum of Understanding was agreed between officials of IT Carlow and WIT, as well as a third stakeholder, the Teachers Union of Ireland, which is set to lead the way to the Technological University status being granted before the end of the year.
And this could pave the way for the National Design Centre and School of Design that has been mooted for the proposed Abbey Quarter in Kilkenny city.
The formal application for Technological University status will be lodged by the institutes if staff members ballot in favour of the deal, which was brokered by the Workplace Relations Commission.
The battle to attain university status for the South East has been waging for over two decades and has seen many false dawns and rejections.
In 2008 the then government commissioned the Dr Jim Port report, an independent report on WIT’s application to gain university status. It found WIT was worthy of stand-alone university status, but the findings were never implemented.
A second report released in 2011 entitled ‘The National Strategy for Higher Education to 2030’ advocated reducing the number of education institutions, effectively stating smaller institutions would have to merge to survive.
Carlow-Kilkenny TD Pat Deering said this week that he believes university status could finally be granted for the South East by the end of the year if the ballot passes next week.