Sinn Féin TD for Waterford David Cullinane has called for urgent clarity and action to inject fresh momentum into the Technological University process for the Southeast.
Teachta Cullinane said the vote by staff at WIT rejecting the memorandum of understanding is a setback but the bigger prize of a University for the region cannot be lost.
Speaking this evening Teachta Cullinane said:
“The Southeast needs a University to drive economic growth and to support the development of the region. A multi-campus Technological University provides enormous opportunities for the entire Southeast region.
“It is vital that the process is built on mutual respect and has the confidence of the staff who will make the University a success. Waterford and the Southeast need a University of International standing.
“It is clear that there are industrial relations issues which need to be resolved. These need to be addressed by WIT management engaging further with the TUI.
“It is equally clear that issues in relation to funding, future governance arrangements and the location of a headquarters for the University need to be addressed.
“The Minister for Higher Education has given commitments to local and regional Oireachtas members on these issues. However it is clear that further clarity is now needed.
“A commitment to increase the footprint of the Waterford campus needs to be fleshed out and made clear. Delivery of future capital funding needs to recognise the educational deficit in the Southeast and recognise that for a new University to be of International standing sizeable and significant additional funding in required.
“In order to build confidence the Minister should begin the process of appointing a new Chair and as a consequence the process of appointing a new President. This will create momentum and provide certainty on Governance arrangements.
“I look forward to working with the Minister and Waterford and Regional Oireachtas members in the time ahead. It would be unforgivable for the Southeast to miss this opportunity and be left behind as the only region without a University. I will work constructively with others to achieve greater clarity and get the process back on track.”