I will respond quickly. I welcome the bipartisan and significant support for the agenda of technological universities. In and of itself, that sends an important message to all those across our country who are working on trying to get technological universities over the line. A large amount of work goes into such a project. It is not just about merging institutions and changing letterheads. It is more profound than that. It is about trying to create a powerhouse within one's region in terms of skills, linkages with industry and access to education, whereby someone does not have to trek somewhere else to attend a university.
A number of members asked about other technological universities. TU Dublin was established on 1 January 2019. It is now the largest higher education institution in the country with more than 28,000 students. It published its first strategic plan in 2020. The MTU will open its doors as a new entity on 1 January, subject to the approval of the Oireachtas of that designation date. In an issue close to the heart of the Minister of State, Deputy Niall Collins, Athlone IT and Limerick IT intend to make a joint application for technological university designation before the end of the year. It will be an important step. The Connacht-Ulster Alliance, which Deputy Ó Laoghaire asked about, will serve the north west and comprises Galway-Mayo IT, Letterkenny IT and IT Sligo. It is working on its application, which it expects to submit by the end of this year.
The Chairman and Deputy Ó Cathasaigh asked about the south east. The Technological University for the South East, TUSE, consortium has delivered its project plan to me. I intend to bring it to the Cabinet, probably this month but certainly before Christmas. It will then be published. The consortium expects to submit an application for designation to me next April or May. That work is on track. Regarding the multi-county campus, I assure the Chairman that my Department's commitment and that of the consortium to ensuring that there will be a Wexford site is clear. This is not a university that will be owned by any one county. Having a footprint in each of the counties of the south east is important. Our commitment to Wexford remains in that regard.
Deputy Ó Laoghaire asked about staff. This is an important issue, given that we are discussing a large workforce whose members have been working and doing a good job in different institutions. From reading through my notes, there has been considerable engagement with unions, including the Teachers' Union of Ireland, TUI, and the like. I believe it was in April that the TUI requested the Department to progress a number of issues at national level with it, the Technological Higher Education Association, THEA, and TU Dublin.
I understand there is a process targeted at a collective discussion of working through certain issues that arose in the initiation of the MTU consortium situation, but that will equally apply as we continue to roll out TUs. I give an assurance that that engagement will continue. On funding, in reply to Deputy Ó Cathasaigh, I will circulate a table to the committee showing the breakdown regarding the funding being provided in Exchequer allocations to make these projects a reality. Regarding the Technological University for the South East, an allocation of €5.1 million runs from 1 September this year until 31 August next year. We also have the technological university transformation fund and I remain committed to ensuring that is fully harnessed.
Senator O'Loughlin asked a question about something close to my heart. I had some good meetings with disability organisations since taking up this role. It is fair to say that we are making good progress at primary level and second level, and then, frankly, we fall off a cliff. During my time as Minister for Health, all the questions concerned what would be done for school leavers in respect of day care places, an important issue, but never about what they wanted to do in respect of further and higher education.
I had a good meeting with the Trinity Centre for People with Intellectual Disabilities, TCPID, which does incredible work. Why is that only in Trinity, however, and with ten places each year? I would like to see that model, or something close to it, rolled out across other institutions. I am meeting with a range of stakeholders on Monday in that regard, and I am happy to keep Senator O'Loughlin and the committee updated. I think we are also going to have a detailed debate on technological universities in January and I look forward to that.