Sinn Féin spokesperson on Further and Higher education, Rose Conway-Walsh TD, has welcomed the announcement that Galway-Mayo, Sligo and Letterkenny Institutes of Technology will become a technological university by the end of this academic year following the government’s formal designation.
But she added that the funding has to go along with this announcement given that Higher Education has been underfunded for the past decade.
Teachta Conway-Walsh said:
“This has the potential to be a transformative development for Connacht and Ulster that I wholeheartedly welcome.
“This development can provide greater educational opportunities for the students from the region as well as attracting students from across the island and abroad.
“Universities must also be seen as an economic driver. A well educated workforce and high quality research is key to continuing to develop regional industries, and to attract inward investment.
“We need to unlock the potential of the West and North West, and a technological university is vitally important to that objective.
“But the funding has to go along with this announcement. Higher Education has been underfunded for the past 10 years, with the sector essentially remaining in austerity mode.
“We need a better vision for higher education that recognises the potential benefits higher education can have on our society and economy.
“The experience of GMIT and other institutes of technology clearly demonstrates the benefits and costs associated with geographically spread-out, multi campus institutes.
“The new technological university will span across eight locations: Castlebar, Galway City, Killybegs, Letterfrack, Letterkenny, Mountbellew and Sligo.
“While this diversity and reach is what makes this TU so important and unique, we need to ensure that we provide the resources to deliver on its potential.
“We need a step change in the core and capital funding we provide to higher education – particularly institutes of technology and technological universities.
“We need to invest in research and development to ensure this new technological university can compete both nationally and internationally.
“This technological university can and must act as a catalyst for wider regional development.”