The Castlebar campus of GMIT will play a leading role in the future of the institution as it moves towards university status - as part of the Connacht Ulster Alliance Technical University plan - according to GMIT president, Dr Orla Flynn.
Dr Flynn addressed the members of Mayo County Council at their November meeting this week. Starting off her presentation, she said she expected to "need her shin pads for protection" and "If I was in any doubt of the deep feeling in Mayo, I am not leaving with any doubt", after councillors lined up to outline criticism of the way they saw the Mayo campus was being managed from Galway.
During her presentation, Dr Flynn told the councillors that: "Mayo is going to be a university county and Castlebar is going to be a university town." She also said that as part of the plans for the future, that a new Health Science and Wellbeing school will be developed on the Castlebar campus - which 'will plant a solid flag of leadership here in Castlebar'.
She said that while a new school was being developed, it did not mean that the Castlebar campus was going to be a 'nursing school' and she was committed to there being 'a multi-disciplinary offering on the campus in Castlebar'.
There was much criticism from councillors on the make-up of the board of GMIT, given that there was no representation from Mayo on it. Dr Flynn said that "the make-up of the board was regulated by the constitution of the institution - but people had to look past that and to the future, whereas this time next year there might not well be a GMIT, if the Connacht Ulster Alliance comes to fruition and energies should be looked at the composition of that board - which will oversee the the entire Connacht Ulster Alliance."
The question of staff moving from Castlebar to Galway after the closure of the business course in the campus was also raised, and Dr Flynn said that no staff will have to move to the Galway campus.