My key priority and that of my Department in terms of advancing higher education integration in the south-east region is the progression by the publicly funded Institutes of Technology that make up the TUSEI consortium of their proposals for a technological university to serve all parts of the region.
In this context I received an application under section 29 of the Technological Universities Act 2018 from the Institute of Technology Carlow and Waterford Institute of Technology. The application is seeking an order under section 36 of the Act for the applicant institutes to be dissolved and the establishment of a technological university. On 25 May 2021 in accordance with my obligations as Minister under section 31(3) of the Act, I appointed an advisory panel of four persons to assess the application.
Carlow College St. Patrick's is a private institution operating in the region but standing outside the publicly funded higher education system. The college is understood to be facing financial challenges and in this context provided a copy of an independently commissioned governance and financial review to my Department seeking any relevant views or advice in relation to the broader higher education landscape of, and integration potentiality within, the region. A senior official in the Department has written recently to the college to schedule a meeting to discuss their review document later this month.