PAC tell John Halligan to clarify criticism of group for examining WIT financial issues

Posted in Governance and administration, Legal issues on April 14th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“The Dáil’s Public Accounts Committee has told junior minister for skills John Halligan to clarify why he criticised the group for examining financial issues at Waterford IT, amid claims of an attempt to block any investigation that may damage his constituency …” (more)

[Fiachra Ó Cionnaith, Irish Examiner, 14 April]

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‘We can’t have every minister firing out statements willy-nilly’: John Halligan asked to clarify criticism of PAC

Posted in Governance and administration on April 13th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is to write to Junior Minister for Skills and Training, John Halligan to ask him to clarify a statement he made regarding the questioning of Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT). Officials from the college appeared before the PAC last week …” (more)

[, 13 April]

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Minister John Halligan defends WIT President’s reputation

Posted in Governance and administration on April 12th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Minister of State John Halligan has warned that any incorrect suggestions of impropriety could have a destabilising effect on Waterford Institute of Technology at a critical point in its campaign for University status …” (more)

[WLR FM, 10 April]

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Ministers Bruton and Halligan announce the launch of the Irish Research Council’s €2.5m Frontier Research (LAUREATE) Programme

Posted in Research on April 6th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton TD, and Minister of State for Training, Skills and Innovation, John Halligan TD, today (Thursday) announced the launch of the Irish Research Council’s €2.5 Million Frontier Research Programme, which will be titled the Irish Research Council’s Laureate Awards. The Programme will aim to attract world class researchers to Ireland …” (more)

[Department of Education and Skills, 6 April]

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Science Foundation Ireland – North-South Collaboration

Posted in Research on February 17th, 2017 by steve

IrelandSeán Sherlock (Cork East, Labour): To ask the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the number of SFI awards that have been made to HEIs for collaborations between the North and South under the CSET, SRC, PICA and PIYRA programmes; the details of the awards for the years 2015 and 2016 showing which HEIs and research teams benefitted from these awards, in tabular form …” (more)

[Dáil written answers, 15 February]

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Minister Halligan announces €34.5M in funding for the Technology Transfer Strengthening Initiative

Posted in Research on January 17th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Minister Halligan has announced funding of €34.5m for the third phase of Enterprise Ireland’s Technology Transfer Strengthening Initiative (TTSI) which serves to bolster the capability within the knowledge transfer system in Ireland ….” (more)

[Merrion Street, 16 January]

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Courses see 80% leave live register

Posted in Governance and administration on December 29th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“Government-backed training courses saw 80% of those who participants leave the live register over four years, a new report has found. Meanwhile, Skills Minister John Halligan hailed the number of women in Springboard+ linked technology training schemes …” (more)

[Cormac McQuinn, Independent, 29 December]

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Govt announce more than 5,800 free places for jobseekers in higher education

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on June 15th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“The Government has announced more than 5,800 free higher education places for jobseekers. Almost 700 are part-time, two-year ICT Conversion Courses …” (more)

[, 15 June]

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Higher Education: Legislation Programme for the Current Session

Posted in Governance and administration, Legal issues on June 8th, 2016 by steve

IrelandThe Government has now published its Legislation Programme: Current Session (here), with very few surprises after the Organisation and Current Issues document of barely a month ago (here), as discussed in Eoin O’Dell’s blog. As was already public, the Technological Universities Bill (debated before the election) has now been restored to the order paper; presumably the plan is to push on with it much as before, though the need to placate some independent TDs (notably John Halligan of Waterford) may lead to a re-think of its most controversial aspect – that ITs can only upgrade to Technological Universities if they have first undergone a merger. In practical terms this means that the TU4Dublin (Dublin IT, IT Blanchardstown, IT Tallaght) will very probably appear quite soon, though all else is still to be fought over.

That aside, there is no 3rd-level-specific legislation on the ‘urgent’ list; none has been labelled ‘Priority Legislation for Publication This Session’.  Other proposals are mentioned but are still bubbling under, and are evidently not regarded as compelling for now:

  • Higher Education (Reform) Bill: To modernise the legislative framework underpinning the governance and functions of the Higher Education Authority and the governance structures of the universities. Status: ‘Heads are currently being drafted’.
  • Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Amendment) Bill: To amend the Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education and Training) Act 2012 to address some issues that have arisen regarding the scope of QQI’s responsibilities in relation to recognition of awards and regulation of private and voluntary providers, to ensure adequate protection of enrolled learners where providers discontinue a programme, and to give greater authority to Institutes of Technology to award Level 9 qualifications. Status: ‘Work is underway in Department’.
  • Universities (Amendment) Bill: To ensure compliance with government guidelines on remuneration, allowances, pensions and staffing numbers in the University sector. ‘Heads approved in October 2012. Drafting underway’. (This last has been hanging around for some years now without being progressed; I remain of the view that its only function is as a scarecrow for universities tempted to breach financial guidelines, and that there is no serious plan to enact it.)

Onwards and upwards …

The Blogmeister

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John Halligan vows to get rid of ‘unfair’ JobBridge

Posted in Governance and administration on May 21st, 2016 by steve

Ireland“John Halligan has said he will do everything in his power as a junior minister to get rid of the ‘unfair’ and much ‘abused’ JobBridge scheme …” (more)

[Elaine Loughlin, Irish Examiner, 21 May]

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Waterford TD confident WIT can stand alone in Uni bid

Posted in Governance and administration on May 12th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“Waterford Independent TD John Halligan says he was the one who insisted that the requirement for IT’s to merge in order to gain university status be removed …” (more)

[WLR FM, 9 May]

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A good day for the University of the South East campaign – no mergers and no Jan O’Sullivan and Tom Boland

Posted in Governance and administration on May 8th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“A good day for the University of the South East campaign – no mergers and no Jan O’Sullivan and Tom Boland. John Halligan announced on Facebook that … ‘I have also secured a commitment that the need to merge with another IT will be taken out of the criteria for Technological University Status’ …” (more)

[The John Halligan Facebook post is here]
[University of the South East Campaign, 7 May]

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Third Level Funding

Posted in Governance and administration on April 23rd, 2015 by steve

IrelandDeputy John Halligan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the funding that was allocated by the Higher Education Authority to each third level institute in 2014 …” (more)

[Dáil Éireann Written Answers, 21 April]

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Institutes of Technology: Waterford IT and IT Carlow

Posted in Governance and administration on March 28th, 2015 by steve

IrelandJohn Halligan (Waterford, Independent): To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the projected cost of the proposed merger between Waterford Institute of Technology and Carlow Institute of Technology; if parallel management structures will be retained at each institute after the merger; the projected cost of retaining parallel management structures at each institution; the amount that has been spent to date by each college on due diligence on the proposed merger; the amount the State will contribute to the cost of the proposed merger; and if she will make a statement on the matter …” (more)

[Written answers, 26 March]

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Minister ‘can’t get involved’ in ITs row

Posted in Governance and administration on February 12th, 2015 by steve

Ireland“Education Minister Jan O’Sullivan says she cannot get involved in the dispute in which lecturers at institutes of technology in Cork and Tralee are moving towards industrial action over a planned merger. The Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) has lodged a dispute …” (more)

[Niall Murray, Irish Examiner, 11 February]

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University ambition ‘kicked down the road’

Posted in Governance and administration on January 20th, 2015 by steve

Ireland“Independent TD John Halligan believes the university question for Waterford will be ‘kicked down the road’ until after the next general election …” (more)

[Dermot Keyes, Munster Express, 20 January]

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Time university fiasco ended

Posted in Governance and administration on November 12th, 2014 by steve

Ireland“As the fiasco surrounding Waterford’s campaign for a university continues, it has never been more crucial for the key stakeholders in the south east to rise above political machinations and demand what is best for the city and the region …” (more)

[Mary Frances Ryan, Waterford News and Star, 11 November]

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Further Education and Training Programmes Provision

Posted in Governance and administration on March 8th, 2013 by steve

Deputy Joan Collins asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he has quantified the likely number of teaching jobs, course offerings and student places that may be lost as a result of his plans to increase the student teacher ratio in the further education sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter …” (more)

[Dáil Éireann Written Answers, 7 March]

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Third Level Fees

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on November 22nd, 2012 by steve

Deputy John Halligan asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his attention has been drawn to the consequences that come with raising the student contribution charge. [51673/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): As the Deputy will be aware the student contribution increased from €2,000 to €2,250 for the current academic year. The contribution is paid by the Exchequer in respect of students who qualify under my Department’s student grant scheme. The Government is aware of the financial pressures on families and, conscious of this, tax relief provisions have been put in place which provide for tax relief at the standard rate of tax for full-time fees in excess of €2,250. In addition, my Department, through the Higher Education Authority (HEA), requested institutions to put arrangements in place whereby students may pay the contribution in two instalments. I have been assured by the HEA that these arrangements are now in place.”

[Dáil Éirean Written Answers, 21 November]

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Technological Universities

Posted in Governance and administration on October 4th, 2012 by steve

Deputy John Halligan asked the Minister for Education and Skills if there have been any further developments in relation to the south east and in particular Waterford Regional Technical College being granted university status; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41341/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): In the document, ‘Towards a Future Higher Education Landscape’, published by the HEA in February last, a clear four stage process and criteria was laid out for institutes of technology who wish to apply for designation as a technological university. Having regard to the process that has been put in place to assess proposals for designation as technological universities I do not propose to comment on any potential applications for designation by any group of Institutes of Technology.”

Dáil Éireann Written Answers, 2 October

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