The establishment of a new technological university in the midlands, mid-west and Shannon region has been hailed as a ‘transformational event’.
The midlands, mid-west and Shannon region is to get a new technological university (TU), which will replace the Athlone and Limerick Institutes of Technology.
The new Technological University of the Shannon: Midlands and Midwest will be established in place of the dissolved ITs, the Government has confirmed in an announcement earlier today (16 July).
Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris, TD, said the new TU will take effect from early October.
Students due to start at the TU this September will do so within a university setting and students due to graduate this year will do so with university qualifications.
Harris said it was a significant day for the people of the region as well as Ireland’s higher education sector.
“This TU will drive regional development and socio-economic progression, will facilitate local and regional higher education access and course choice with university level qualifications for students in their own areas and will benefit in attracting enterprise, skills retention and creation and increased direct investment into the regions served by the university.”
The move follows the merging of several other ITs around the country. In January of this year, IT Cork and IT Tralee merged to form Munster Technological University.
TU Dublin was formed in 2019 following the amalgamation of three ITs in the area. Dundalk IT has said it plans to join a TU after initially considering the possibility of becoming a technological university in its own right.
Galway-Mayo IT, IT Sligo and Letterkenny IT are planning to join together as part of the Connacht Ulster Alliance.
And IT Carlow and IT Waterford have been planning a technological university for the South-East for some time also.
The new TU in the Shannon, midlands and mid-west region will have campuses throughout Limerick City, Athlone, Clonmel, Ennis and Thurles.
Minister of State Niall Collins, TD and former LIT lecturer, expressed his pride at the decision. “This is a transformational event for the people of the mid-west and the midlands. [It] will allow people across the mid-west and the midlands and beyond to obtain a university degree in their home places,” he said.
“As a former LIT lecturer and a proud Limerick man, I want to congratulate all those in LIT and AIT for bringing us to this point and wish them all the best on this exciting journey.”