GMIT report due to be released before Christmas

The long-awaited report from the GMIT working group on the Mayo campus is to be published in the coming days.

Former taoiseach Enda Kenny and Education Minister Richard Bruton established a working group in March to formulate a plan and a pathway for a sustainable future for the GMIT Mayo Campus in Castlebar.

Fine Gael senator John O’Mahony has welcomed news that the report from the GMIT working group on the Castlebar campus is to be published before the end of the year. Senator O’Mahony received the confirmation in the Seanad from Minister of State for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O'Connor.

Senator O’Mahony told the Mayo Advertiser: “I was delighted to hear of the Department’s commitment to implementing a viable development plan for the future of the Castlebar campus of GMIT. The Minister has confirmed to me that the report will be published before year's end. This will provide a pathway to certainty for the campus.

“She has told me that there will be some certainty in place for the Castlebar campus before the CAO deadline in January," he added. "The campus was opened in 1994 and specialises in nursing and outdoor education, as well as offering courses in business, technology, and health sciences. I am hopeful now that this commitment from Government will ensure that Castlebar campus is maintained and enhanced. This is great news for the community and indeed the whole northwest.”

O’Mahony’s fellow Mayo senator, Paddy Burke, also welcomed the news as good for Castlebar.

“When funding is ring fenced for the campus it will put it on a sustainable footing going forward and that will help to allow the campus in Castlebar to grow. I also have a Bill going before the Seanad in the New Year which will allow the Minister to appoint extra members to the governing body of the GMIT because there has been no representation at all on the governing body from Mayo or from Castlebar. This Bill will allow the Minister to put people on that to serve the interests of Mayo and to make sure their proposals are heard at board level.”

Minister Mary Mitchell-O’Connor, speaking in the Seanad chamber, said: “The Department of Education and the Higher Education Authority are fully committed to implementing a viable development plan for the future of the Castlebar campus of GMIT. The HEA has agreed a three year financial plan with GMIT to reach a balanced budget for the Castlebar campus. The college has also identified a number of areas to address their financial position.

“The report will be published before the end of the year. To reassure students who may be filling out CAO forms, there will be a roadmap for the GMIT before the CAO applications are to be submitted.”

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