I thank the Deputy for the question and for consistently raising with me the need for a Wexford campus as part of the technological university for the south east. It has been a long-term objective of what is currently Institute of Technology, IT, Carlow to secure and develop a suitable, permanent campus site in Wexford. In the broader context of higher education progression and integration, this is an objective that I strongly support. I do not see this as an option or something nice to do; I see it as essential to the functioning of the new technological university for the south east. Should the application made by IT Carlow and Waterford Institute of Technology, WIT, to establish a multi-campus TU serving the south east ultimately prove to be successful, which I expect it will, then any new campus of IT Carlow located in Wexford would, in turn, become the campus of the designated TU, which would mean that Wexford would have a university campus. As the Deputy knows, IT Carlow submitted an updated business case earlier this year to the Higher Education Authority, HEA, to purchase a site in Wexford. Following a review of the business case, I am delighted that the HEA board approved the proposal, including the value for money parameters. The proposal has further been approved by me and the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, in line with the Technological Higher Education Association, THEA, code of governance, which applies to institutes of technology. As the site acquisition process is ongoing, I cannot answer the direct question on the funding details, because they are commercially sensitive.
I can confirm, however, that a proposal has been approved by me and the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform and that funding from my Department has been earmarked in line with the value for money considerations outlined in the IT Carlow business case. IT Carlow is engaged in efforts to secure the site and has been liaising with Wexford County Council, which has informed me it is also very supportive of the planned development. IT Carlow has also outlined, at a high level, its plans for a phased campus development in Wexford. However, that planning is still at an early stage. The scope and scale of the infrastructural development remains to be agreed. This will be agreed upon by the Higher Education Authority, HEA, and by my Department once it is submitted. We must secure a site. I have to do it in line with the value for money parameters set down by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform but I want to see every possible route and tool the State has in its toolkit used to make sure this happens.