Waterford University challenge: Councillors throw down guantlet to new Minister
Waterford’s Labour Party councillors have challenged the new Minister for Higher Education, Simon Harris, to put a timeframe on the delivery of the Technological University of the South East (TUSE).
And local councillor John Pratt said that unless progress is made soon on the TUSE, Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) should “go it alone” and establish a Waterford University under the Universities Act 1997.
Cllr Pratt said: “The Labour Party in Waterford would like to congratulate Simon Harris on his recent appointment as Minister for Higher Education, but would like to re-iterate that there must be a time-limit put on the Technological University of the South-East.
In a joint statement, issued on behalf of the local Labour counillors, including Cllr Pratt, Seamus Ryan, Ger Barron, Thomas Phelan and Local Area Representative Michael Murphy, the party said the delay in establishing the TUSE cannot be allowed to continue. And they said the long-awaited delivery of a University for Waterford and tyhe South East must be a “top priority” for Minister Harris.
The statement said: “Waterford in one form or another has been pushing for a University in Waterford for the South-East since the foundation of Waterford’s first University Action Group in 1936. 26 successive governments over 84 years have failed to provide it.
“Waterford is Ireland’s only major city without a university, and the recent success of MTU, who’s TU application began in 2013 2 years after the TUSE’s in 2011 only adds insult to injury in Waterford’s case.
“The lack of a university for the South-East is of particular concern to all students, parents, and families in our area who face unneeded financial stress in funding travel and accommodation away from home for higher-education.
“Waterford continues to lag behind in the knowledge economy in comparison with other regions due to it’s lack of a university contributing massively to our ‘brain-drain’, and driving away the high- skill jobs Waterford sorely needs to fund our regional development.”