BY CONOR SHIELDS AND NIKKI MURPHY
Ireland’s first ever Technology University took a massive step to becoming a reality when the bill was passed in the Dáil last month.
The future of a technological university in Ireland looks bright as the Technological Universities Bill was passed by the Dáil last month.
The bill, if brought into fruition, will see the merger of a number of Institutes of Technology including DIT, IT Tallaght and IT Blanchardstown, and will in turn create a new form of university in the country.
Minister of State for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, carried the proposal through the initial stages of the Dáil. According to the Irish Times, Minister O’Connor said that this proposed legislation would bolster a new type of higher education institution and would build on the strengths of the existing Institutes of Technology.
At this moment in time, the Bill has passed stage 8 of the process and is currently being debated on in the Seanad. Once the Bill reaches stage 11 it will be considered an enacted bill and signed into Irish law.
At the moment, there are only 14 colleges who identify as Institutes of Technology in Ireland.
Although the enactment of this Bill will affect all Institutes of Technology across the country, DIT, ITT and ITB are currently the frontrunners in the race to creating Ireland’s first technological university.
The site, which will be located at the current DIT Grangegorman campus, has been the focus of much debate in recent months regarding uncertainty over student facilities and staffing.
Last month, The Edition reported that Heads of School in DIT had written to Tom Collins, the chair of DIT’s governing body after they were left out of TU4D talks with merger colleges ITT and ITB.
Speaking on the issue, DIT President Brian Norton had said that he “would like to confirm that Heads of School in DIT, ITT and ITB are entirely equal, and all must be involved equally in the development of the Technological Universities Bill”.
In the letter sent to Tom Collins, it was stated that a certain “director” has stated publicly that “colleagues in ITB and ITT at Head of School level have a strategic role while DIT Heads of School cadre are merely operational managers.”
When asked about this comment, President of ITB Diarmuid O’Callaghan said, “this view is not supported by me or by the senior leadership team at ITB.”
At the moment, there are only a certain number of courses located at the DIT Grangegorman campus.