A new TU is coming to the north-west of Ireland in 2022

28 Oct 2021

Dr Brendan McCormack, Dr Orla Flynn and Paul Hannigan. Image: Mike Shaughnessy

A new TU is to be established in Ireland with the amalgamation of three institutes of technology in the west and north-west region.

Ireland’s next technological university (TU) has just received ministerial approval for its establishment in early 2022.

The TU will serve the west and north-west of the country. It will involve the amalgamation of Institute of Technology Sligo (IT Sligo), Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) and Letterkenny Institute of Technology (LYIT).

The Connacht-Ulster Alliance (CUA) group campaigned for the TU designation on behalf of the three institutes of technology. Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris, TD, congratulated the alliance on its work, calling it a “landmark day” for the region.

Dr Seán Duffy, CUA executive project lead, said it was the culmination of “many years of work by students, staff and stakeholders” across the alliance.

“It is a testimony to the calibre of our staff and the spirit of collaboration that has developed between CUA colleagues, which will serve us well as we prepare for the next phase of the TU development.”

The name and designation date of the new TU have yet to be announced.

The university will straddle eight campuses, from north Donegal to south Galway. It will offer almost 600 academic programmes from pre-degree to doctoral level, with a student population of more than 20,000 supported by around 2,200 staff.

According to Harris, it will “increase higher education access, drive enhanced regional development and increase opportunities for students, staff, business and enterprise, and local communities”.

An advisory panel report on the CUA’s TU application found in its favour, saying there was evidence of strong links with businesses, the community, local interests and other stakeholders in the region. It was also satisfied that there had been effective consultation with staff and student unions.

The three institute presidents, Dr Orla Flynn of GMIT, Paul Hannigan of LYIT and Dr Brendan McCormack of IT Sligo, commented: “The new TU will transform the educational landscape of our region, building talent, driving innovation, research and development and propelling us onto an international stage.

“Working with stakeholders in the region, cross-border and beyond, the new TU will support the needs of enterprises, especially SMEs across the region, though employee education and research, to enhance economic, social and cultural prosperity. It will also deepen collaborative partnerships with national, cross-border and international further and higher education institutions as well as organisations in the public and private sectors,” they added.

The presidents of the student unions at GMIT, LYIT and IT Sligo also said they believe that the new TU will “encourage inward investment in the region, so that high-quality employment will be available for current and future graduates”.

The new TU is the second to be approved this year and the fourth since 2019. Technological University of the Shannon: Midlands Midwest became Ireland’s third TU when it opened on 1 October.

The country’s first technological university, TU Dublin, was announced in 2018 with the merging of three ITs in the county. Munster TU was inaugurated at the beginning of this year following the amalgamation of Cork IT and IT Tralee.

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Blathnaid O’Dea was a Careers reporter at Silicon Republic until 2024.