Yesterday, a delegation of Fine Gael Seantors from the county, Paddy Burke, Senator John O'Mahony, and Michelle Mulherin, held a meeting with Minister for Education Richard Bruton on the future of the campus. After the meeting Senator Mulherin said: “The Minister has confirmed that the Government is fully committed to the Castlebar campus of GMIT and its future growth. This will involve developing new courses and responding to the growing demand for further education in order to ensure upskilling and re-skilling responding of the labour force which is set to continue and which has been identified by the OECD."
She continued: “GMIT in Castlebar is a strategic asset for our people, our county and industry, and our social and economic growth in the region. It has made third level education accessible for many people who would never be in a position to avail of it otherwise. Protecting and enhancing it is an imperative and a priority for myself and my colleagues.
"The management of GMIT and the Castlebar campus have met with the Higher Education Authority and prepared a recovery plan and there is ongoing engagement between the parties in that regard including measures being undertaken by GMIT to ensure the campus is sustainable, efficient, and relevant to educational needs of students and industry now and into the future. When this process is completed the HEA will then be in a position to decide what funding is required to help Castlebar campus.
“When this process is completed we will be looking for funding for Castlebar and this was made clear to the Minister by myself, Senator Paddy Burke, and Senator John O'Mahony. Also I am delighted to confirm it is the intention of the Minister to visit the campus before the end of the month.
“We all need to promote Mayo as a great place to receive a third level education. The fatalistic political campaigning we have seen recently, putting in doubt the future of the Castlebar campus in the minds of would-be students, needs to stop lest it does damage to GMIT in Castlebar and becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy.”
Fianna Fáil TD Lisa Chambers will host a public meeting this evening in the TF Royal Hotel in Castlebar at 7.30pm to discuss the future direction of the Castlebar campus of GMIT. Deputy Chambers said: "There is a question mark hanging over the future of the GMIT Mayo campus following news that five degree courses across IT, business, and heritage are to be axed at the college. People are rightly asking what is the future for the Mayo campus and what type of a facility will we have in a few years. A public meeting will facilitate the public having their voices heard on a hugely important issue for our county and hopefully provide some answers for people. Please join me in pledging our support for the GMIT Mayo campus."