Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Questions (579)

Joe McHugh

Question:

579. Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science the status of progress of capital works at Letterkenny Institute of Technology which were secured under the previous Government; the progress in relation to university status for the institute which also received a commitment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8722/21]

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Written answers (Question to Further and Higher Education)

As the Deputy will be aware, a new Library, IT and Education Building is planned for Letterkenny Institute of Technology (LYIT). The project forms part of Bundle 2 of the Higher Education PPP Programme. It will consist of a library and various learning resource spaces, general and specialised teaching spaces, ICT labs, administration space and ancillary space.

Submissions have been invited from consortia interested in tendering for Bundle 2 and the shortlisting of prospective tenderers will commence in the coming weeks. It is anticipated that construction will commence in Q3/Q4 2022, with the first projects completed in Q3/Q4 2024.

The refurbishment and upgrade works to the main building on LYIT's Killybegs campus are also continuing, with Phase 1 and 2 of the project complete and Phase 3 expected to be on site in summer 2021.

LYIT forms part of the Connacht Ulster Alliance, along with GMIT and IT Sligo. The consortium is preparing proposals to seek technological university designation through the prescribed legislative process under the Technological Universities Act 2018. While a joint application under Section 29 of the Act has not been received to date, the Department understands that significant progress has been made in relation to its finalisation, including intensive discussions with the staff of the respective Institutes, and that an application is in view for submission in Q1 2021. Ultimately, however, the finalisation and submission of an application remains a matter for the Institutes themselves.

To date, the consortium has received a total of €11.6 million in Exchequer funding to advance its proposals, of which €5.9 million was allocated under the first tranche of the Transformation Fund in October 2020.