Delighted to speak on the positive announcement of the establishment of a Technological University for the West and North West incorporating GMIT,

I welcome last week’s announcement of the establishment of a technological university, TU, in our region of the west and north west. One of the beautiful things about this proposed TU is that it is a multi-campus university. There are now university towns throughout the region, from Castlebar to Galway city, Killybegs, Letterfrack, Letterkenny, Mountbellew and Sligo. A unique aspect of this TU, and one that will enhance the offering in the region, will be the ability of students to obtain a technical university qualification and, all going well, which I expect it will, the fact that students graduating next year in the existing institutes of technology, ITs, will do so with a TU degree. That is a wonderful acknowledgement of the process of the TUs.

I acknowledge the dedicated National Centre for Excellence in Furniture Design and Technology in Letterfrack, whose present campus has a great reputation, and the fact that Letterfrack will also be a university town. That is a wonderful achievement. It will increase higher education access, drive enhanced regional development and increase opportunities for students, staff, business and enterprise, and local communities. It is a wonderful acknowledgement of the process and I welcome last week’s announcement by the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Deputy Harris, and the engagement across the political spectrum that took place with the constituent ITs of Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, GMIT, Sligo and Letterkenny. It is a wonderful day for the west and north-west region.