The Technological University for the South East has been given the go-ahead for next year.
The long-awaited university for the region will see the merger of IT Carlow with Waterford Institute of Technology on the 1st of May 2022.
It's the fifth of its kind in the country and will include campuses in Wexford.
An application was made jointly on 30 April 2021 on behalf of the IT Carlow and WIT, with Minister for Higher Education Simon Harris making the announcement that the application was successful following a meeting with South East TDs today.
Today I announce the Technological University for the South East. Exciting day for the South East & for Ireland. It will open its doors in 2022 after decades of debate. Thank you to all who got us to this point. You should be very proud. I will work closely with you on next steps
— Simon Harris TD (@SimonHarrisTD) November 2, 2021
Harris says "This is a really exciting day for higher education in the South East region, signalling the establishment next year of a multi-campus university presence across the region."
"After years of debate, the establishment of this new technological university will become a reality next year, and the South East can look forward to it increasing higher education access, driving enhanced regional development and increasing opportunities for students, staff, business and enterprise, and local communities across Carlow, Kilkenny, Wexford and Waterford."
Local TDs have also been reacting to the news, with Waterford's Mary Butler saying that 'Technological University status for Waterford IT will increase higher education access and increase opportunities for students, staff, business, enterprise, and local communities in Waterford.'
While Fianna Fáil TD for Carlow and Kilkenny, Jennifer Murnane O’Connor says “This is a great day for Carlow, Kilkenny and the South East region in general. This is the culmination of decades of work and it will finally become a reality next year. TUs have the power to transform regions and the TUSEI will be a game-changer for Carlow and Waterford."
Speaking to Beat News, Carlow Kilkenny TD John Paul Phelan says the announcement is a massive boost for the South East Region:
"This has the potential to be a complete game-changer in terms of how we operate in the South East."
"For too long we've exported some of our brightest and best who have never come back and as a result, we have often lagged behind in terms of economic delivery - it's a really important day for everyone in the South East."
There are no further details released for where the main 'HQ' of TUSE will be, however, Minister Harris will shortly be inviting expressions of interest for the roles of chairperson and two external members of what should become the first governing body of the new Technological University.
Meanwhile, IT Carlow's Student's Union says the May 1st date is a bit strange.
Speaking to Beat News, Thomas Drury says it may be cutting it fine to the start of next academic year:
"It's a couple of days before students hit their final year exams, I think there could be an increase of pressure there - I think it also gives a lot of complications for Students Unions, and Student Union elections, are we going to elect them to a new students union or an old one, there are still some issues that need to be ironed out."
Image: Department of Further and Higher Education Twitter