Minister of State, Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran has welcomed €2m in restructuring funding to assist Athlone IT and Limerick IT in their application for Technological University (TU ) status.
As revealed in last week’s Athlone Advertiser, the provision of education excellence at Athlone IT is to be further enhanced following the formation of a consortium with Limerick IT to develop a new TU for the Midlands and Mid-West regions.
“The bulk of the funding announced today is going towards Technological University development, including also for the first time to a newly proposed TU consortium formed by Athlone IT and Limerick IT, which is an exciting new development and one which I have supported from day one.”
“In negotiating the current programme for Government over three years ago, I had the foresight and looked for and succeeding in getting, a commitment to the development of Athlone IT as a university and I am happy to state that this is another commitment delivered during my time in Government.
“I am, of course, delighted that Athlone Institute of Technology and Limerick Institute of Technology have decided to come together as a Technological University consortium. This merging of their respective strengths and attributes will be transformative for the Midlands and Midwest regions, for their communities, regional economies and will provide new and exciting pathways to higher education for students,” Minister Moran stated.
Meanwhile, Athlone based Senator, Gabrielle McFadden,in further welcoming the announcement, noted the ambition shown by the Board of AIT as they continuously strive to progress and advance the third level college.
“To have the funding confirmed so soon is a sign of the positive approach being taken by Government towards Athlone and AIT and I wish to publicly thank my colleagues Minister for State for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor and Minister for Education, Joe McHugh for their support”.
Senator McFadden noted the ambition shown by the Board of AIT as they continuously strive to advance the third level college.
“Athlone Institute of Technology has always been a hugely progressive and ambitious institution and a key driver for development in the Midlands. As a former member of the Governing Body, I congratulate Professor Ciarán Ó’Catháin and his team as well as all those involved with LIT on putting this innovative and forward-thinking proposal together. This is a dawning of a new chapter for the College and for the Midlands region and the funding announced today will underpin their initiative.
“It will bring together the capital of the Midlands and the capital of the Mid-West to provide a top-quality educational institution which will benefit the students, the staff and the region and will build further on the potential of both institutions, placing them to the fore as a potential partner for industry and research.”
“This bid is very much in keeping with Government priorities outlined in Project 2040 of developing urban areas outside of Dublin and building a strong economy supported by enterprise, innovation and skills. It will enhance the entire region, and will further consolidate Athlone as the key driver for development in the Midlands.”
“Athlone and Limerick have historically been linked by the river Shannon. The river, which once connected the great seats of learning at Clonmacnoise and Lough Ree with the Abbey at Mungret now sees a new partnership that we all hope will lead to the technological university of The Midlands and the Mid-West,” Senator McFadden stated.
President of Athlone IT, Professor Ciarán Ó Catháin, said that this funding will act as a catalyst in expediting the AIT/LIT application for technological university status.
“Delivering a technological university is of fundamental importance to leveraging our respective regions and ensuring they continue to grow and prosper for the betterment of the communities that live, raise families and work within them.
“This funding will facilitate the building of both research capacity, increase the number of staff with cutting-edge technical and research-based skills and continue our efforts to upskill our talented workforce and supply industry with a talent pipeline of work-ready graduates. In doing so, it will further our status as a leader in applied education, industry-focussed research and innovation output - all of which is regionally impactful.
“The relationship between the ambition of our consortium and the success of the industry in our region is at the forefront of our priorities in order to maintain, develop and evolve contemporary and relevant educational, training and research provision,” Professor Ó Catháin emphasised.