Waterford’s University Status

Dear Sir,

February 21st finally saw the publication of the long awaited Dr. Jim Port analysis of the case put forward by WIT for re-designation to university status. 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.

WIT could have faced many, stern, opposing forces in its pursuit of re-designation with respect to economic factors, the ability to perform at a university level, justifiable academic background, and adverse effect on the Institute of Technology sector, many of which are somewhat subjective arguments of an academic nature, which would in essence prove difficult to completely counter. However, the Port findings have resolved that WIT stands unique in its capacity of seeking an upgrade without adverse effect on the Institute of Technology sector or otherwise; in fact, it is highlighted as being to the direct benefit of the region that is currently not served by such an institution within a minimum of a 100km radius. Further more, Dr. Port explicitly states that it would be detrimental to the entire higher education sector if this submission was ignored or if future Section 9 applications were blocked.

What was also clear from the report is that Dr. Port was highly constrained by the context of government policy and also the OECD report of 2004. He was quite obviously restrained in his support; on many occasions he refers to government policy as the limiting factor. As a country we must progress, and allowing a region that supports over 460,000 people to decay economically, tentatively based on 4-year-old analysis and outdated government policy that leans toward centralisation, is unsettling, to say the least. Indeed, the decay of such a large region would be far greater drain on the national resources than the support costs of a university for the South East.

It is within this context that many may have read less than flattering articles in the national media, whereby a negative slant was cast on WIT’s prospects when information to the contrary was clearly available to the authors. Placing unfounded, negative opinion against a clear-cut, positive report may well harm the chances of a deserved submission for re-designation and, in turn, may harm the overall attractiveness of the country to new business. It is with “semper veritas” that we must control our national destiny and not retrospective remorse for “mea culpa” in the case of those supposedly operating under “mens rea” for hidden agendas! Parochial politics and slanted media have adversely affected the potential of many an important decision, so let the people of the South East be aware that we should not serve this sentence once more by pushing county rivalry or parish pump politics.


Yours, etc,

Jonathan Brazil,

Grange Manor,

Waterford City

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