Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Questions (410)

Alan Dillon


410. Deputy Alan Dillon asked the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science if he will provide information and clarity on a timeline and programme of engagement with personnel from the GMIT Mayo campus on the independent working group report. [2882/21]

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Written answers (Question to Further and Higher Education)

As the Deputy is aware a Galway Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) Working Group was established in March 2017. The key objective of this group was to develop a plan to develop a sustainable future for the Mayo Campus arising from concerns about the financial viability of the campus.

As recently highlighted by GMIT the creation of a Technological University by the Connaught Ulster Alliance (CUA) will provide enormous opportunities for all stakeholders in the region, including those in Mayo. The strategic re-positioning of GMIT now underway in the context of the work by CUA which encompasses the developments planned for the Mayo Campus will help ensure its long-term sustainability and future development.

I understand GMIT, following engagement with Mayo campus staff over an extended period is undertaking a strategic reorganisation process as part a critical element of the transformation process required to realise these benefits from TU designation. This reorganisation includes the proposed establishment of a new academic School for GMIT, led from the focused expertise that has been quietly but progressively growing at the Mayo campus and that GMIT have several new Governing Body members from the business community in Mayo who are enthusiastic and positive about the direction being taken.

It is vital for GMIT and the future TU to offer an integrated service to all stakeholders working across the region and acting as one. All GMIT schools are intended to have a GMIT wide remit including Mayo, Galway and beyond.

As you aware from the virtual meeting you attended with the GMIT President Dr Orla Flynn and myself in October, Dr. Flynn confirmed this to be the case.

It is my understanding that in Q4 2020 there has been:

- communication with staff as to the proposed realignment of programmes within existing academic structures of GMIT

- Meeting of President and several senior GMIT staff with Mayo Co. Co. to discuss GMIT input to the Mayo Economic Recovery Plan

- Completion of works on roof and building fabric on the Castlebar campus

The Mid Term Review report of the independent assessor will be presented to the HEA’s Finance and Governance Committee by the end of Q1 2021. Once I receive further update from the HEA following this presentation I intend to arrange a meeting with Oireachtas members from the region to discuss the future strategies for the campus.