‘Evasive, dishonest, scandalous’ Brian blasts Government on university

Deputy Brian O’Shea has launched a stinging attack on the Government’s ‘downright dishonesty and prevarication’ in relation to the proposed re-designation of WIT as a University of the South East.

“The shameful fact of the matter is that since February 2006, we have not even progressed to the first stage of the statutory process despite the fact that the future of Waterford and the region is more dependant on the creation of the university than on any other prospective project or development,” he says.

Accusing the Government of using “a range of evasive and dishonest ploys to avoid progressing the application,” the Waterford Labour TD intends to tackle Education Minister Batt O’Keeffe when the Dáil resumes next week.

Specifically he’ll ask if he’s sought the appointment of an expert panel to advise the Higher Education Authority about WIT’s case – the recommended first step in the statutory process.

Doing so would at least “eliminate some of confusion and obfuscation which the Government has deliberately created” through “evasion, excuses and smokescreens for the past three years,” he says. “I am not prepared to allow this scandalous situation to go on indefinitely.”

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One Response to “‘Evasive, dishonest, scandalous’ Brian blasts Government on university”

  1. Professor Ged Martin Says:

    Congratulations to Deputy O’Shea on his trenchant comments on the sluggish, evasive and inept official response to WIT’s now 3 year-old application for full university status.

    I have just returned to west Waterford after delivering a public lecture at the University of the Fraser Valley in British Columbia. This institution acquired full university status last year (one of four such upgrades in the province). It is located in the fast-growing eastern suburbs of Greater Vancouver, at least an hour’s drive from the city’s two established (and world-renowned) universities. Foreseeing rapid population growth in an area too far to be conveniently accessible from the existing universities, the BC government established first a community college, then gave it University College status (i.e. university programmes but with external supervision) and now full independence and status as a university (and it will be a good one). WIT has followed the same path — RTC in the 1970s, IT in the 1990s — but the government seems somehow frozen at the thought of taking the last logical step.

    Deputy O’Shea is not alone in his anger. Other local representatives, such as Sen. Paudie Coffey of FG, have also spoken out on the issue, and Waterford community organisations are vocal in their demand.

    Is the current crisis a bad moment to be pressing the case for the University of the South East? NO. The initial and transitional costs of converting WIT into a full-scale university will be relatively small, for the main issues to be settled immediately will be those of governance (how will it be run?) and strategy (which way will it go?) But at least the University will be in place when the economic upturn finally comes, and WIT’s achievement appropriately recognised.

    We are constantly given hints that this or that government Deputy “really” supports WIT in its campaign to become the University of the South East. Maybe they do when they are down here — but what are they doing to deliver the goods in Dublin?

    Perhaps for some bizarre reason the government has finally and definitely decided that Waterford should be the only Gateway City in Ireland to lack a local university. Perhaps the government has perversely decided that Ireland South-East should be the only major region in western Europe to be denied a university.

    If so, may I suggest an extra feature for the fine new bridge over the Suir (which will of course make it easier for students from Kilkenny and Carlow to travel to WIT’s Carriganore and Cork Road campuses). If there is to be no University of the South East, there should be a gantry sign over the Northbound lane.

    It should read


    Because without the support of a locally-based and locally-mandated university, the city will be unable to compete for the investment it so desperately needs to renew its industrial base for the 21st century.