I announced my plans last year to strengthen the education base in regions which are not well served at present and to establish effective links with higher and further education institutions. My intention is to address the related problems of non-completion at second level education and low participation rates in higher education which are hampering development in these regions. I intend to put in place supports to encourage completion of the leaving certificate and to enable advancement to localised higher education opportunities. In this context, my Department received a number of proposals for the establishment of centres in various locations around the country, including a proposal from the Navan chamber of commerce for the establishment of a third level facility in Navan.
Following further consideration of the matter, it has recently been decided to proceed with plans to develop centres in Wexford and Kilkenny. Proposals for similar initiatives in other areas, including Navan, will be reviewed in the light of the experience gained from the development of the centres in Wexford and Kilkenny and in the context of the resources which are available to me.