‘I believe there’s a decisive regional policy argument’

- Dr. Martin Mansergh TD

“I welcome the decision of the Minister for Education and Science, Mary Hanafin, to publish the Port Report on WIT’s application for university status, before any further government decision is taken.

“The report gives qualified support for the application. It accepts that WIT is certainly eligible for consideration for university status on the basis of academic criteria. It agrees that the South-East region would benefit economically, socially and culturally, and notes that it is over 100km from its nearest neighbouring university. The main reservation is that granting university status would conflict with stated government policy, despite the existence of a legislative procedure for changing to university status.

“I accept the need to maintain the integrity of the Institutes of Technology, though none, except WIT, are situated in cities and regional capitals without a university. I believe there is a decisive regional policy argument for a university in Waterford, but that ways of ring-fencing any positive decision about WIT (and possibly on purely educational grounds DIT) have to be found.

“As a member of the WIT Foundation Advisory Board, I have long been a strong supporter of the WIT application, which would have great benefits for the entire region, including the more adjacent parts of South Tipperary, in terms of attracting investment and retaining graduates.”

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