Image: Simon Harris TD
Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD has today (5 May 2021) granted Technological University (TU) status to Athlone Institute of Technology and Limerick Institute of Technology.
This is the third TU to be created since 2019 and is a milestone for the Midlands and the Mid-West.
Minister Harris said:
“This is another hugely important day for higher education in Ireland and in particular for the Midlands and Mid-West regions.
“The higher education landscape is rapidly evolving and the people of the Midlands and Mid-West will be at the heart both geographically and practically of that evolution.
“This new technological university designate will increase higher education access, drive enhanced regional development and increase opportunities for students, staff, business and enterprise, and local communities.
“This new TU – our third since 2019 – will now take its rightful place in the higher education landscape in the country’s heartlands. The new higher education institution of increased scale and reach will benefit the students and communities of Westmeath, Limerick, Tipperary, Clare and Offaly to name but some of the counties which will be served by the new university.”
The process to designate a new TU is enshrined in the Technological Universities Act 2018. The next steps in the legislative process require the Minister to bring forward a draft order establishing the appointed day on which the new technological university will be legally established and Athlone and Limerick ITs consequentially dissolved for approval by the Houses of the Oireachtas. Students graduating in the 2021-2022 academic year will do so with university qualifications.
Minister Harris added:
“I would like to warmly congratulate and sincerely thank the very many people from the two Institutions including their management, governing bodies, staff, students and the wider regional and community stakeholders who have enabled today’s announcement and who can now look forward to an exciting future for this new university and the regions it will serve.”
Minister of State for Further Education and Skills Niall Collins TD added:
“This is a transformational event for the people of the Midlands and the Mid-West. We know the many faceted benefits of TUs and we are seeing how they can transform regions elsewhere. I am very much looking forward to this new TU bringing those benefits from Clare and Limerick, through Tipperary and up the Shannon across the Midlands to Athlone and beyond.
“This will allow people across the Midlands and Mid-West and beyond through digital connectivity to obtain a university degree in their home places. As a former LIT lecturer and a proud Limerick man I am delighted to see this milestone being reached and I want to congratulate all involved.”