New universities?

By the Universities Act, 1997, s 9, the government of the day may grant university status to any educational institution. In practice, the main contenders for this designation are the various Institutes of Technology, much of whose teaching and research is at university level, and which would have considerably greater status as universities.

The power to recognise new universities has, however, never yet been used, and is more constraining than it looks at first glance. While the ultimate decision lies with the government, the obligation to consult with the HEA and relevant experts is non-trivial; also non-trivial are the financial implications of recognising another university. Further, the legislation is extremely vague on the sorts of considerations that should be borne in mind in making the decision, and so a government on the alert for legal challenges will exercise caution. And obviously enough, the legislation describes only legal powers, not the debates and political manoeuvrings connected with the exercise of those powers.

An unsuccessful application by Dublin IT seeking university status has been written up as a doctoral thesis by Colm Garvey.

There has been much recent speculation that amalgamations of ITs may be granted the status of technological universities.  If this happens, however, it will be under new statutory powers created for that purpose, and only after a rigorous process to establish their suitability.  See Technological Universities.

The links here narrate the public debate which followed a recent application by Waterford IT for university status (the story is covered from beginning of 2008). Waterford’s application was made in February 2006; the Department of Education commissioned a report from foreign consultants; the report was delivered in July 2007, though it was not publicly released until February 2008, apparently in the wake of a cabinet quarrel. The public discussion which followed reveals many concerns amongst those affected, including other ITs, existing universities, business interests, unions, political activists, and others. The episode provides a fascinating study of the arguments and the vested interests involved in the recognition of new universities; in other words, of the politics of the “university” label in modern Ireland.


Taoiseach to be ‘pinned down’ on WIT issue (Tom Young, Munster Express, 18 January): “A timescale for upgrading of WIT to university status is to be demanded of Taoiseach Bertie Ahern when he visits Waterford on February 8 …” (more)

Third level funding: Waterford ‘severely disadvantaged’ – Brian O’Shea (John O’Connor, Munster Express, 23 January): “Official figures obtained by Deputy Brian O’Shea highlight the extent to which Waterford is disadvantaged compared to other major cities regarding funding for 3rd level institutions. The shock information shows that Dublin receives 11.7 times more funding than Waterford. But the imbalance doesn’t end there …” (more)

Taoiseach is told university status will do nicely (Waterford News & Star, 1 February): “The designation of WIT as a university is the good news, which the Taoiseach should be bringing to the city when he visits in the coming days to open the Edmund Rice Heritage Project …” (more)

Hanafin and Cullen clash over Waterford IT status (Mark Hennessy, Irish Times, 2 February): “Two Cabinet Ministers sharply disagreed with each other over demands for university status for Waterford Institute of Technology during a meeting with Fianna Fáil TDs and Senators, it has emerged …” (more)

Taoiseach to be questioned on WIT status (David Mc Donnell, Munster Express, 8 February): “An Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern is expected to be quizzed on Waterford Institute of Technology’s application for university status during his visit to Waterford today …” (more)

‘Cosy cartel’ mustn’t block (Paudie Coffey, Munster Express, 8 February): “Another local newspaper recently gave front page headlines to an argument against WIT’s bid for University status. The paper has every right to publish this argument just as Dr. Constantin Gurdgiev has every right to express his opinion. However, on a matter of such importance …” (more)

Role of ITs could be diluted by status issue (Séan Flynn, Irish Times, 9 February): “Any decision to grant university status to the Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) could potentially damage the entire institute of technology sector, according to a confidential report commissioned by the Department of Education …” (more)

Ministers clash over institute of technology (Niamh Connolly, Sunday Business Post, 10 February): “A consultant’s report on Waterford Institute of Technology’s application for university status is to be published within the next month following a heated parliamentary party debate on the issue …” (more)

Institute director rejects setbacks to university application (Irish Examiner, 12 February): “The director of Waterford Institute of Technology said yesterday that weekend leaks and remarks by politicians do not represent setbacks in the institute’s campaign for university designation …” (more)

WIT’s university bid hits stormy waters (John O’Connor, Munster Express, 14 February): “Last week was not a good week as far as WIT’s bid for university status is concerned. A row at Cabinet level, curious utterances mid-week and a Department leak at the weekend …” (more)

WIT’s academic isolation is wrong (Dermot Keyes, Munster Express, 14 February): “This newspaper has long taken a clear and definitive stance on the pressing education issues affecting Waterford and the south east. Top of that agenda for over a decade now has been the issue of university status for the region …” (more)

University kicked to touch (Kieran Walsh, Munster Express, 14 February): “Probably one of the biggest blunders of the current government and a sure sign of weak leadership was the leak this week that there would be no university for Waterford and the region. This is another Cabinet battle the Taoiseach has lost …” (more)

WIT university upgrade: Battle close to climax (John O’Connor, Munster Express, 15 February): “The long-held aspiration and on-going battle to secure university status for Waterford Institute of Technology rose to the top of the political agenda this week …” (more)

Union official on university ‘entitlement’ (Tom Young, Muster Express, 15 February): “With Waterford’s university prospects waning on foot of Taoiseach Bertie Ahern’s prevarication on the subject at the weekend, a leading local trade union official has posed the question: why are we always left scrambling for crumbs from the national table? …” (more)

Following Taoiseach’s prevarication on university … (Tom Young, Munster Express, 15 Feb): “Angered by Taoiseach Bertie Ahern’s prevarication on the subject when he visited here last Friday, straight-talking City Councillor Mary Roche has demanded immediate and robust action …” (more)

‘Unanswerable case for university’ (Munster Express, 15 February): “The Chairman of the Labour Party, Brian O’Shea, TD, has reiterated his long held view …” (more)

WIT response to media coverage of university designation (Munster Express, 15 February): “Prof Kieran R Byrne, Director, Waterford Institute of Technology has said the Institute does not interpret recent reported remarks by members of Government or the reported content of part of Dr Jim Port’s report as representing setbacks …” (more)

IBEC South East demands university designation for WIT (Munster Express, 15 February): “IBEC Regional President for the South East, Paul Nolan, has hit out at reports suggesting the region is to be denied a university for fear of weakening the Institute of Technology sector …” (more)

Cullen gives backing to WIT application (David Mc Donnell, Munster Express, 15 February): “Speaking during the Taoiseach’s visit to Waterford last Friday, Minister for Family and Social Affairs, Martin Cullen once again pledged his support to Waterford Institute of Technology’s submission to get university status …” (more)

University is vital, missing cog (Munster Express, 15 February): “Brian Byrne, Chairman of the South East Branch of the Construction Industry Federation (CIF), speaking at the annual dinner of the branch in the Woodlands Hotel, Waterford on Friday 8th February, has hit out at inaction over the issue of the need for a University for the South East …” (more)

University status report on Waterford sceptical (Seán Flynn and Mark Hennessy, Irish Times, 20 February): “The Department of Education will this week publish an independent report on the bid by Waterford Institute of Technology for university status …” (more)

No decision on Waterford university status (RTÉ News, 20 February): “A new report on Waterford Institute’s application for university status does not come down for or against the application …” (more)

South East case for University Vindicated: Cllr Jack Walsh (Labour Party, 20 February): “‘There can be no other conclusion than that the case put forward for a University of the South East has been fully vindicated by the Dr. Jim Port Report’ is the strongly held view of Cllr. Jack Walsh …” (more)

Waterford university campaign goes on (Seán Flynn, Irish Times, 21 February): “An independent report on the application by Waterford Institute of Technology for university status sees merit in its case, but it also warns of the possible dangers of changing its designation …” (more)

Hanafin denies decision already made on college status (Irish Examiner, 21 February): “A decision whether or not to formally review Waterford Institute of Technology’s claim for university status will be made by the Government in the next few weeks, Education Minister Mary Hanafin has insisted …” (more)

Cullen should resign if technology institute fails to get university status (John Kennedy, Irish Examiner, 22 February): “If Education Minister Mary Hanafin confirms that Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) will not be upgraded to university status, then Social and Family Affairs Minister Martin Cullen must demonstrate his support for Waterford by resigning from the cabinet …” (more)

Waterford’s case for a university (Des Griffin, Irish Times, 22 February 2008): “Waterford Institute of Technology is seeking redesignation as a university in the context of regional equity and economic development. Unfortunately, vested interest is again raising its head …” (more)

Cullen: ‘The case has been made and the momentum and impetus is unstoppable’ (Munster Express, 22 February): “Waterford Minister Martin Cullen has welcomed the publication by the Minister for Education and Science, Mary Hanafin of the report compiled by independent expert Dr Jim Port of JM Consulting on WIT’s application for university status …” (more)

Begin process of University status for WIT – O’Shea – Howlin (Brian O’Shea, Labour Party, 22 February): “South East Labour Party deputies, Brian O’Shea TD and Brendan Howlin TD are calling on the Government to immediately begin the legal process set out in the University Act 1997 to advance the application of Waterford Institute of Technology …” (more)

Moves afoot to create university lobby group (Dermot Keyes, David McDonnell & Jamie O’Keeffe, Munster Express, 22 February): “Tentative steps have been taken to establish a ‘broad-based’ local lobby group advocating WIT’s case for university status …” (more)

Hanafin’s hostility towards WIT (Tom Maher, Munster Express, 22 February): “I agree with the Minister for Education, Mary Hanafin, when she says that an Institute of Technology is an important part of the infrastructure of the South East. However, I disagree vehemently with her, when she states that this is the reason that WIT cannot be upgraded to University status …” (more)

Institute ‘to engage with Government’ (Munster Express, 22 February): “Waterford Institute of Technology has said it looks forward to a full engagement with the Department of Education & Science and the Government on the next steps towards its re-designation as University of the South East …” (more)

In my opinion: A university by any other name … (Brian Norton, Independent, 27 February): “The argument has been made that there are already enough universities in Ireland. However, designating DIT as a university will not add to that number: it will merely provide a more accurate description of the institution and the work that it does …” (more)

Upgrading of WIT ‘in isolation’ not best option (Carlow People, 27 February): “Following the application by IT Waterford to the Department of Education and Science to be upgraded to university status, its counterpart in Carlow said that its exclusion from any proposal would not be the best option …” (more)

IT could suffer if Waterford upgrade gets green light (Carlow People, 27 February): “The possible upgrading of Waterford I.T. to university status could have detrimental effects on its counterpart in Carlow, according to Cllr. Rody Kelly …” (more)

University upset but battle is not over (Kieran Walsh, Munster Express, 28 February): “Here in Waterford there will be anger on this issue and also on the failure of the Minister to grant university status …” (more)

‘I believe there’s a decisive regional policy argument’ (Martin Mansergh, Munster Express, 28 February): “Here in Waterford there will be anger on this issue and also on the failure of the Minister to grant university status …” (more)

Shoddy treatment by Government must end (Waterford News & Star, 29 February): “Having already fired warning shots across the bows of the Department of Education regarding mixed messages on the application by WIT for redesignation as a university, Minister for Social and Family Affairs Martin Cullen maintains the momentum and impetus for the upgrade is unstoppable …” (more)

How can they deny us our university now? (Waterford News & Star, 29 February): “There will be no further unnecessary damage to Waterford or the region arising from inaction, delay or obfuscation with regard to the upgrading of WIT to the new university of the South East. That’s the pledge of Prof. Kieran R Byrne, Director of Waterford Institute of Technology …” (more)

‘We’re sick of waiting … we won’t accept it any more’ (Waterford News & Star, 29 February): “A rallying cry has gone out for one more heave to achieve university status for Waterford Institute of Technology …” (more)

Minister accused of having ‘closed mind’ (Tim Ryan, Munster Express, 29 February): “The Dr Jim Port report on the feasibility of a university for the south-east was described by Wexford Fine Gael Deputy Michael D’Arcy as ‘a political manoeuvre to get over the 2007 election’ …” (more)

Mary Hanafin under fire (Gorey Guardian, 5 March): “A North Wexford Councillor has accused the Minister for Education Mary Hanafin of selectively leaking a report on Waterford Institute of Technology’s application for University status …” (more)

Another FUSE is lit to bring us a university (Waterford News & Star, 7 March): “Local doctor Frank Rowe and businessman Frank Dolphin are part of a twenty strong group behind FUSE (Friends of the University for the South East) who have circulated 120 flyers around the region informing people of what a university would mean to the South East …” (more)

Waterford’s University Status (Jonathan Brazil, Munster Express, 7 March): “The one, resounding undertone that emanated clearly from Dr. Port’s analysis was that the decision to re-designate WIT to university status is entirely political in nature …” (more)

Cullinane raises WIT application at Ard Fheis (David Mc Donnell, Munster Express, 7 March): “Waterford City Councillor David Cullinane described the campaign for a university of the southeast as unstoppable during the televised segment of his party’s Ard Fheis this week …” (more)

No encouragement on university front (Munster Express, 7 March): “Minister Martin offered little by way of encouragement when asked about Waterford’s university prospects …” (more)

Higher Education Sector To Be Overhauled Under FG Plans (Fine Gael, 9 March): “Section 9 of the Universities Act has not been properly developed in terms of establishing a framework for what is or is not a university …” (more)

Fine Gael proposes shake-up at third level (Seán Flynn, Irish Times, 10 March): “A radical shake-up in the third-level sector in which the 14 institutes of technology would come under one ‘umbrella university’, as well as the granting of university status to Waterford IT and Dublin IT, are the main features of a new Fine Gael strategy unveiled yesterday …” (more)

Phelan welcomes Fine Gael policy on university status for WIT (Fine Gael, 11 March): “Carlow Kilkenny Fine Gael Senator John Paul Phelan has welcomed the new party policy revealed by Fine Gael on Monday in Waterford, which calls for university status for Waterford Institute of Technology …” (more)

Cork IT to seek university status (Seán Flynn, Irish Times, 13 March): “Cork IT moved formally to seek university status yesterday – in a move which could damage the campaign by Waterford IT for a university in the south-east …” (more)

WIT tight-lipped on rival’s bid to become university (Irish Examiner, 14 March): “Waterford Institute of Technology has refused to express any opinion on this week’s application by Cork Institute of Technology to be designated a university …” (more)

US chamber backs Uni plan as ‘gateway to global knowledge’ (Waterford News & Star, 14 March): “The upgrading of WIT to a university has received another powerful boost with the backing of the American Chamber of Commerce South East region …” (more)

New uni: Time to ‘get off the fence’ (Waterford News & Star, 14 March): “Fianna Fail can expect to take a hammering in the ballot box at next year’s local and European elections if it fails to deliver on a university for the South East …” (more)

Fine Gael’s university pledge (Tom Young, Munster Express, 14 March): “Fine Gael nationally has finally, officially, pledged to join in the fight for a university for Waterford …” (more)

‘Imagine if we had a University’ – Mayor (Munster Express, 14 March): “This survey shows just how popular Waterford is and what a great place it is to live and work. But think how high we would rank were we to get a University of the South East based in Waterford city? …” (more)

Plans to upgrade colleges sparks turf war (John Walshe, Independent, 15 March): “A turf war over college degrees loomed last night after it emerged that 14 institutes of technology are now demanding their graduates get university qualifications …” (more)

Institute debate not as simple as a name change (John Walshe, Independent, 15 March): “The agreed position paper from 12 IT presidents will certainly add to the debate about the future of higher education in this country …” (more)

Upgrading by degrees (Independent, 15 March): “The unexpected demand by 14 institutes of technology that they be effectively promoted to university status is a symptom of the frustratingly slow pace of progress and change in higher education in this country …” (more)

IT university campaign heats up (Ralph Riegel, Independent, 16 March): “The Government is now under increasing pressure to sanction a series of new Irish universities …” (more)

DkIT in bid for status upgrade (Argus, 19 March): “The 12 other institutes of technology have now joined Waterford and Dublin looking for an upgrade in status …” (more)

Waterford’s case for a university (Mark McLaughlin, Irish Times, 20 March): “It is to be hoped that these ‘me too’ applications, as referred to by Dr Port, do not muddy the waters as regards the WIT application. Dr Port’s report is applicable to the WIT case only …” (more)

South-east university could revive region (Jim Power, Irish Examiner, 21 March): “A university of the south-east would arrest the brain drain out of the area, increase its attractiveness for high value added employers, and seriously enhance the educational attainment of the local workforce …” (more)

Waterford and the idea of a university city (Noel Whelan, Irish Times, 22 March): “Waterford’s application should not be stalled simply because others seek similar treatment …” (more)

WIT is the only contender (Ed Walsh, Irish Times, 25 March): “The application by Cork IT for university status is mischievous and groundless. Only the south-east region has a legitimate claim for a new university …” (more)

Union concern at rush to achieve university status (Katherine Donnelly, Independent, 28 March): “Institutes of Technology (ITs) must not lose sight of their original mission in their drive to achieve university status, a union leader said yesterday …” (more)

Cork jump into university debate (Kieran Walsh, Munster Express, 28 March): “It looks like our neighbours in Cork are not satisfied with one university and want two. While we in Waterford don’t have one, they make their case for a technological university to go with the national university in that city …” (more)

Institutes of technology warned on applications for university status (Gráinne Faller, Irish Times, 28 March): “The Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) has warned that institutes of technology that have applied for university status must be careful not to neglect their ‘original mission of provision of apprenticeship and technological courses’ … ” (more)

Uni supporters run to Dublin (Waterford News & Star, 28 March): “The Friends of The University for the South East (FUSE) are calling on people across the South East region to come and support them next week as they bring their campaign for university status to Leinster House …” (more)

University would give serious clout to the sunny south-east (Maurice Hayes, Independent, 31 March): “This year marks the 40th anniversary of the start of the civil rights movement in the North. It will be remembered that the presenting reason, the straw that broke the camel’s back, was the refusal of the Unionist government, in coming to a decision on the location of a second university, to recognise the claim of the north-west …” (more)

Dr. Walsh backs WIT (Kieran Walsh, Munster Express, 4 April): “Dr. Ed Walsh, former head of Limerick university speaking on RTE radio on Monday night, again reiterated the Waterford case for a south east regional University …” (more)

Waterford university (Irish Times, 5 April): “The campaign by Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) for university status is gaining momentum, as the Cabinet prepares to consider an expert report on the issue …” (more)

Waterford university request considered (RTÉ News, 9 April): “Minister for Education Mary Hanafin said she will bring proposals to the cabinet shortly on the report that examined Waterford’s application for university designation …” (more)

Further support for WIT upgrading to University Status (Munster Express, 10 April): “Waterford Labour Deputy Brian O’Shea has welcomed the recommendation of a delegation from the Joint Committee on Enterprise Trade and Employment to the Tipperary Waterford Cork border Region on 22nd/23rd January 2008 …” (more)

WIT university application gets another council airing (David McDonnell, Munster Express, 17 April): “With a change of Taoiseach on the political horizon, the issue of upgrading Waterford Institute of Technology to university status was again discussed by city councillors in City Hall on Monday night …” (more)

Hanafin urged to “get off the fence” during testy Dáil debate on WIT (Dermot Keyes, Munster Express, 17 April): “Education Minister Mary Hanafin was urged to ‘get off the fence’ on the great WIT question during exchanges in the Dáil last Wednesday with her Fine Gael counterpart Brian Hayes …” (more)

University lobby group say college entry stats underline Southeast ‘brain drain’ (Munster Express, 18 April): “A lobby group campaigning for a university in the southeast region say the latest Higher Education Authority (HEA) statistics on college entry reinforce the long-held view that the region suffers from an ongoing ‘brain drain’ with some of the highest achieving school leavers forced to leave if they’re to receive a university education …” (more)

Call for university status backing (Carlow People, 23 April): “Director of IT Carlow, Dr. Ruaidhrí Neavyn, addressed members of Carlow County Council yesterday to rally their support in the college’s application for university status …” (more)

Carlow IT sets the ball rolling and gets the council’s backing for its university status (Carlow People, 23 April): “Carlow Town Councillors gave their backing to a bid to get university status for Carlow Institute of Technology at their monthly meeting on Tuesday night …” (more)

Labour leader backs University of the South East (David Mc Donnell, Munster Express, 25 April): “The Leader of the Labour Party, Eamon Gilmore, spoke out in favour of a University of the South East during a visit to the city on Thursday last …” (more)

McEllistrim calls for university status for Tralee IT in Dail (Fianna Fáil, 25 April): “IT Tralee offers a range of programmes ranging from certificate through to honours degree, Masters and PhD level. The Institute is a major contributor both nationally and regionally to economic, social and cultural development …” (more)

Education is key to economic boom (Waterford News & Star, 25 April): “The delivery of third and fourth level education in Waterford is essential if the economic performance of the region is to improve …” (more)

Kilkenny councillor blasts Carlow and Waterford ITs’ lack of cohesion (The Nationalist, 1 May): “Kilkenny-based Labour councillor Michael O’Brien dubbed IT Carlow’s attempts to have all ITs upgraded to university status as a ‘dog in the manger’ tactic …” (more)

New report backs SE University (Munster Express, 2 May): “An Economic Summary Report, commissioned from Deloitte Economic Consultants and launched in Dublin last week by Waterford Chamber, states that third and fourth level education must be delivered in Waterford if the South East region is to improve its record of poor economic performance relative to the rest of the country …” (more)

Waterford IT needs to look beyond redesignation (Tom Collins, Irish Times, 5 May): “Regardless, the case for a university in the south east is also open to question – there is a strong case to be made that the institutes can already claim equal status to universities …” (more)

Significant progress made on university issue – Connick (New Ross Standard, 7 May): “Deputy Sean Connick has this week again raised the issue of the establishment of a university in the South East in the Dail …” (more)

Government is dragging its feet on WIT’s bid for justice and equality (Munster Express, May 9): “This column was written before Taoiseach Brian Cowan announced his new cabinet so I don’t know whether or not Mary Hanafin will still be Minister for Education by the end of the week. However, judging by comments she made in Galway last week, we couldn’t be saddled with anybody worse from the point of view of Waterford Institute of Technology’s university aspirations …” (more)

Cullen will ‘accept no argument’ against WIT’s university bid (Dermot Keyes, Munster Express, 16 May): “Arts, Sports and Tourism Minister Martin Cullen has re-iterated his commitment to WIT’s bid for university status …” (more)

Coffey: new Minister must move on WIT’s submission (Dermot Keyes, Munster Express, 16 May): “New Education Minister Batt O’Keeffe has been advised to take a decisive course of action on WIT’s submission for university status …” (more)

Wants to meet Minister about university (Munster Express, 16 May): “Waterford City Council is to ask newly appointed Education Minister Batt O’Keeffe to meet a delegation to discuss the issue of a university for the south east …” (more)

Councillors take different sides in South East University row (New Ross Standard, 21 May): “Wexford councillors lined up either side of the bitter Carlow/Waterford education divide on Monday as they considered a campaign for the establishment of a University for the South East last week …” (more)

Chamber group approach Minister about university (New Ross Standard, 21 May): “Local business organisations under the umbrella group of South East Chambers have urged newly appointed Education and Science Minister Batt O’Keeffe TD, to approve the establishment of a University of the South East …” (more)

University will fuel move towards high value jobs (Waterford News & Star, 30 May): “A University of the South East will work in partnership with other educational facilities in driving the city’s transition from manufacturing hub to a centre of excellence in high tech and financial services sectors …” (more)

Canada shows way for regional university says leading academic (Munster Express, 6 June): “A leading international academic has said the designation of new universities in a Canadian province with a similar population to ours offers a roadmap for the Government in dealing with WIT’s application for university status …” (more)

DkIT making a move forward (Argus, 11 June): “The Institute’s Board of Governors this week gave the green light to a feasibility study on the future status of the college, confirmed President Denis Cummins. He told The Argus that ‘a number of options are being considered’ which would see the Institute realise its ambition of becoming the first university in the North East …” (more)

Mayor’s pledges on university and health services (Tom Young, Munster Express, 4 July): “At Monday night’s election of Jack Walsh as Waterford’s new Mayor there was a common theme in the speeches, involving a mixture of optimism over major plans for commercial investment in the city and a steely determination to continue the fight for facilities which should already have been delivered as of right …” (more)

Waterford must overcome university sector’s ‘cosy cartel’ (Tom Young, Munster Express, 15 July): “The ‘I’m alright Jack’ attitude displayed by comments made last week by Danny O’Hare in defending his own territory – for that is what he was doing – illustrate quite clearly for us in the south east the level of opposition from within the cosy cartel of the university sector to our region attaining what is rightfully ours …” (more)

Universities need to get their own houses in order (Joe MacDonagh, Sunday Business Post, 17 August): “CIT, in response to Waterford IT (WIT)’s media campaign for a change in status, has said it wants to become a university. Once the ball is set rolling, with Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) demanding similar rights to CIT and WIT, it’s only a matter of time before the rest of the ITs seek similar status. This would require massive increases in the sector’s funding at no added benefit, as graduates would still be awarded the same degrees, and research funding would still be awarded on the basis of research team excellence and research proposal relevance …” (more)

University would enhance entire Region (Munster Express, 18 September): “The South East Branch of the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) has again called for the Waterford Institute of Technology to be given university status …” (more)

GIF, decentralisation and university: answers sought from Minister Cullen (Tom Young, Munster Express, 18 September): “Minister Martin Cullen is to be invited to address Waterford City Council on issues such as Gateway innovation funding, decentralisation and the ongoing demand for a university …” (more)

South East’s Mayors unite in support of WIT upgrade (Munster Express, 26 September): “Mayor of Waterford Jack Walsh is spearheading a united campaign by Mayors from all over the South East, urging Education Minister Batt O’Keeffe to elevate Waterford Institute of Technology to University status …” (more)

Decision expected on Waterford’s long-running bid for university status (Irish Examiner, 1 October): “Waterford Institute of Technology’s application for university status is likely to be decided upon by the Government in the coming weeks …” (more)

WIT Conferrings: ‘University will safeguard region from setbacks’ – Institute Chair (Munster Express, 31 October): “Any setbacks the south east has suffered and potential threats to its economy into the future would be safeguarded with the development of a University of the South East, Waterford Institute of Technology Governing Body Chairman, Redmond O’Donoghue, said …” (more)

CIT chief ups ante for status change (Irish Examiner, 4 November): “Cork Institute of Technology president Dr Brendan Murphy has reiterated his call for the college to be designated as a technological university, saying it would deliver many benefits …” (more)

Time for university is now (Ged Martin, Waterford News & Star, 7 November): “I am glad that Redmond O’Donoghue, Chairman of WIT’s Governing Body, spoke out at last week’s conferring to insist that the University of the South East remains vital for the region …” (more)

Designate WIT ‘without delay’ (Tom Young, Munster Express, 14 November): “It is almost three years since WIT made application to the Government for university designation and almost a year since the long awaited and much abused report by Dr Jim Port, which was commissioned by the Government, was finally published. It surely makes a mockery of the Government’s own legislation …” (more)

Mayor Argues Passionately for University (Labour Party, 22 November): “In the course of a very forceful and well received speech to the Waterford Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner the Mayor of Waterford, Cllr. Jack Walsh made a very strong and passionate case for the re-designation of Waterford Institute of Technology as the University of the South East …” (more)

Inaction on Waterford university ‘an insult’ (Irish Times, 20 February): “The failure of Government to act on Waterford Institute of Technology’s (WIT) submission seeking university designation has been termed a ‘gross insult to the region’ …” (more)

Waterford’s case for a university (Irish Times, 27 February): “Madam, – A year has passed since the publication of the Port report on the readiness of Waterford IT to serve as a university for the south-east …” (more)

University application ‘very much alive’ (Munster Express, 27 February): “Independent Waterford City Councillor Mary Roche has disputed Cllr Pat Hayes assertion, made in this newspaper last week, that a letter from Education Minister Batt O’Keeffe indicated a ‘no’ decision on WIT’s application for university designation …” (more)

‘Evasive, dishonest, scandalous’ Brian blasts Government on university (Munster Express, 20 March): “Deputy Brian O’Shea has launched a stinging attack on the Government’s ‘downright dishonesty and prevarication’ …” (more)

Government stance on University bid demonstrates ‘contempt for Waterford’ (Munster Express, 27 March): “An angry Brian O’Shea has increased his already high levels of vitriol towards Education Minister Batt O’Keeffe …” (more)

Tanaiste knocks Waterford and south east university ambition (Munster Express, 24 May): “We were surprised and taken aback at the definitive attitude shown by the Tanaiste against a university in the south east …” (more)

Tanaiste’s ‘arrogance’ on university issue (Munster Express, 24 May): “By her attitude in Waterford last Friday, in relation to the quest for a local university, Tanaiste Mary Coughlan displayed an arrogance that has come to characterise Fianna Fail …” (more)

The need for a University is growing says city candidate (Munster Express, 26 May): “Fine Gael City East election candidate Jacqueline Kelly has re-iterated what she described as the pressing need to see WIT upgraded to University status …” (more)

‘The argument that we have enough universities is facile’ (Munster Express, 10 July): “Anyone availing of the ‘Ireland has enough universities’ line is making a facile, ill-informed argument …” (more)

Campaign for University of the South East continues (Cllr Seamus Ryan’s Blog, 24 July): YouTube

Minister Roche hails WIT but won’t be drawn on ‘Uni’ bid (Munster Express, 2 October): “Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) is an excellent IT and that must not be forgotten: that was the assertion made by Minister of State Dick Roche during a visit to Waterford …” (more)

And while on the subject of Waterford … (University Blog, 23 October): “My recent post on this blog about the number of universities in Ireland sparked something of a debate about the campaign to have Waterford Institute of Technology given university status …” (more)

University status for WIT a step closer? (Marion O’Mara, Waterford News and Star, 20 July): “A review of third level colleges which is due to be finalised within the next two weeks and published in the autumn may bring Waterford Institute of Technology a step closer to a university …” (more)

Enda Kenny accused of WIT clawback (Munster Express, 23 July): “The Mayor of Waterford, Councillor Mary Roche, has accused the Fine Gael leader, Enda Kenny, of reneging on his promise to upgrade WIT to university status if his party was voted into government at the next general election …” (more)

Fine Gael pledges change in law to fast track WIT to university (Waterford News and Star, 27 July): “Under mounting pressure to clear up confusion over Fine Gael’s policy in relation to Waterford Institute of Technology’s quest for university status, the party’s leader yesterday pledged to change the law in order to fast track WIT to University of the South East …” (more)

Kenny urged to pledge Waterford university status (Irish Examiner, 12 August): “Fine Gael’s youngest Councillor Tom Raine yesterday called on party leader Enda Kenny to commit to granting university status for the Waterford Institute of Technology …” (more)

University debate hots up on Facebook as Raine asks Kenny to clarify policy (Marion O’Mara, Waterford News and Star, 17 August): “A clear and unequivocal statement on how a Fine Gael led Government would elevate Waterford Institute of technology to a university will be sought from Enda Kenny when he visits the city in three weeks time …” (more)

Hostile reaction to leaked Hunt report (Kieran Foley, Munster Express, 27 August): “Leaks from the report by the National Strategy Group for Higher Education this week suggest that Waterford Institute of Technology’s case for university status has not been accepted …” (more)

Nothing less than university status for WIT acceptable (Marion O’Mara, Waterford News and Star, 31 August): ““The Government has been put on notice that nothing less than full university status for WIT will be acceptable in the report pending from the National Strategy Group for Higher Education …” (more)

Kenny faces university challenge (Munster Express, 10 September): “Enda Kenny has been pressed by one of his own councillors to ‘publicly confirm unequivocally that we will make WIT a University if elected to Government’….” (more)

Report sounds death knell of WIT university status bid (Waterford News and Star, 14 September): “Despite reassurances from Fine Gael Leader Enda Kenny that university status for Waterford Institute of Technology remains a priority for the party, it would seem the move will not be supported in a new report by a higher education strategy group …” (more)

Kenny: ‘I can’t pull a University out of thin air’ (Munster Express, 17 September): “No waters have been muddied regarding Fine Gael’s commitment to delivering a University of the South East in Waterford according to an adamant Enda Kenny …” (more)

Hanafin dashes hopes of university status for WIT (Marion O’Mara, Waterford News and Star, 21 September): “Hopes that Waterford Institute of Technology would be re-designated as University of the South East when the Hunt Report on third level education is published in the coming weeks faded further in recent days. …” (more)

Fury as Hanafin says ‘no’ to uni (Ciarán Murphy, Irish Examiner, 22 September): “Education Minister Mary Hanafin has been criticised in the southeast for claims that Ireland does not need another university, following years of campaigning for one for the area …” (more)

WIT has chance for Tech University (Conor Culkin, Waterford News and Star, 28 September): “Waterford Institute of Technology has a ‘chance’ of being granted Tech University status, according to Minister for Enterprise and Innovation Batt O’Keefe, who was speaking at the National Conference for Regeneration …” (more)

Minister hints at Tech university in upcoming Cabinet decision (Munster Express, 1 October): “Minister for Enterprise, Trade & Innovation Batt O’Keeffe got tongues wagging in Waterford on Thursday, hinting that the Higher Education report, to be released in a few weeks, could have positive news for Waterford IT, Cork IT and Dublin IT, who have all applied for university upgrades. …” (more)

Minister ‘sits’ on report critical to WIT’s future (Waterford News and Star, 5 October): “A report critical to the future status of Waterford Institute of Technology is now with the Tánaiste and Minister for Education, Mary Coughlan but she will not be revealing its contents anytime soon …” (more)

Hunt Report ‘buries’ WIT’s university bid (Dermot Keyes, Munster Express, 7 January): “The prospect of a University of the South East materialising appear more utopian than ever if the latest leaks from the Hunt Report offer any indication …” (more)

Hunt report confirms worst fears for WIT (Marion O’Mara, Waterford News and Star, 11 January): “A campaign started in Waterford back in 1985 to bring about equality in third level educational opportunity for third level students through the establishment of a university for the South East lies in tatters today …” (more)

Campaign to redefine WIT as university hits snag (Conor Kane, Irish Examiner, 13 January): “Disagreements have emerged between campaigners who are hoping to re-designate one of the country’s largest institutes of technology as a university …” (more)

No university status for WIT, says Quinn (Irish Times, 25 March): “Ruairi Quinn insisted there would be no ‘rebranded university’ as long as he was Minister for Education….” (more)

Time now for everyone to unite and deliver a University of the South East based in the South East (Senator John Paul Phelan, 18 January): “Business leaders, employers, community activists and the public at large right across the South East need to unite now in an all-out drive to deliver a University of the South East in the region, Fine Gael’s John Paul Phelan says …” (more)

WIT merger claimed the way forward (Dermot Keyes, Munster Express, 21 January): “Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) is only likely to achieve university status through a merger with its sister ITs in Cork and Tralee …” (more)

Hogan calls on WIT to focus on south-east university (Kilkenny Advertiser, 28 January): “Deputy Phil Hogan has expressed disappointment with the shift in policy by the Board of Waterford IT in the pursuit of a university for the south east …” (more)

No university status for WIT, says Quinn (Irish Times, 25 March): “Ruairi Quinn insisted there would be no ‘rebranded university’ as long as he was Minister for Education….” (more)

University scuppered – ‘No more’ insists Quinn (Munster Express, 25 March): “Despite all the pre-election promises and soothing words of support from Fine Gael and the Labour Party for WIT’s campaign for university status, the college’s ambitions were cruelly shot down in flames …” (more)

University hopes dashed (Waterford Today, 1 April): “Deputy John Halligan TD says he has little faith in the new Government’s pledge to implement the Hunt Report by designating WIT a ‘technological university for the south east’ …” (more)

Diverging views on Technological ‘Uni’ (Dermot Keyes, Munster Express, 14 April): “Waterford City Councillors John Cummins and David Cullinane have expressed contrasting views on the future re-designation of Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) as a Technological University …” (more)

New hope for uni status (WLR FM, 29 April): “There’s renewed hope in Waterford that WIT will be upgraded to university status following education minister Ruairi Quinn’s comments to the TUI last night …” (more)

Higher Education Sector (Dail Written Answers, 4 May): “Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to develop initiatives to increase access to further higher level education for the unemployed; and if he will make a statement on the matter …” (more)

Minister critical of bid to tackle south-east job crisis (Ciaran Murphy, Irish Examiner, 31 May): “Environment minister Phil Hogan said the ‘statutory bodies are not doing enought in the south-east …” (more)

Adjournment Debate – Institutes of Technology (Dáil Éireann Debate, 2 June): “I acknowledge that for the first time in the programme for Government, there is a clear commitment to explore the establishment of a university for the south east …” (more)

University for the South East rides again (Seán Flynn, The Norman Wyse Commentary, 20 June): “Prior to the election, former president of Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT), Prof. Kieran Byrne, briefed staff about exploratory talks with Cork Institute of Technology (CIT), as part of an effort …” (more)

Taoiseach says Waterford can lead way in technology (Conor Culkin, Waterford News and Star, 7 July): “Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the Government is still in discussions regarding the protracted campaign for a University of The South East …” (more)

Blame game begins in shell-shocked Waterford (Una McCAffrey, Irish Times, 9 September): “Unemployment in the southeast is 17.2%, adding to fears of a regional jobs crisis …” (more)

Cabinet agrees to fast-track university for southeast (Harry McGee and Paul Cullen, Irish Times, 9 September): “The Government has decided to “accelerate” the establishment of a technological university in the southeast following the decision of the TalkTalk call centre to close down its facility in Waterford …” (more)

The fall-out from TalkTalk and a Technological University for the South East (The Norman Wyse Commentary, 9 September): “For the third day running, the forthcoming closure of TalkTalk in Waterford remains in the news. 600 jobs will be lost in 30 days, adding to the startling tally of job losses endured by the city in just the last few years …” (more)

Cabinet uncertainty over Waterford IT status (RTE News, 12 September): “Fine Gael TD for Waterford John Deasy says ‘different noises were coming from different people in Cabinet’ about the prospect of upgrading Waterford Institute of Technology …” (more)

Timeline for upgrade of Waterford IT to university sought (Barry Roche, Irish Times, 20 September): “The government has been urged to give a timeline for the fast-track upgrading of Waterford Institute of Technology to a full university …” (more)

University status for Waterford edges closer (Niall Murray, Irish Examiner, 23 September): “Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) should be able to apply to become a technological university by early next year …” (more)

Lack of university a real ‘roadblock’ (Irish Examiner, 7 October): “The lack of a university in the south-east is a ‘roadblock’ to development in the region, business leaders have claimed …” (more)

Progress on South-east technical university (Kilkenny Advertiser, 14 Oct): “Minister Phil Hogan has welcomed the latest progress in the Government’s decision to fast track its commitment to a multi-campus Technical University in the south-east …” (more)

Waterford Institute of Technology (Seanad Éireann, 9 November): “ I welcome the Minister of State to the House. In a previous Adjournment matter I tabled on foot of the job losses in TalkTalk, I raised the issue of the need for a university for the south east …” (more)

Quinn to approve technology university in southeast (Sean Flynn, Irish Times, 17 January): “The Southeast is set to win its long battle for university status, despite strong opposition from some university presidents and senior figures in the Higher Education Authority …” (more)

University status for the southeast in final stages (Kilkenny Advertiser, 20 January): “Official approval for a university for the southeast is fast reaching the final stage …” (more)

University in South East ‘would not hit other third-level institutions’ (Kilkenny People, 25 January): “A group of Irish university presidents is arguing that there is “no persuasive evidence” of a need for a university in the South East …” (more)


  • what about private universities act in Ireland?

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