Third level funding:Waterford ‘severely disadvantaged’ – Brian O’Shea

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. Cork receives 3.9 times more than Waterford, Galway 3.0 times more while Limerick receives 2.9 times more.

Speaking to The Munster Express, Deputy O’Shea said the figures were a disgrace and what was totally unacceptable was that, in his considered opinion, the Government had no intention of upgrading Waterford Institute of Technology to University Status.

“In response to a Parliamentary Question in November, Minister Mary Hanafin failed to confirm or deny my suggestion that the consideration of the Dr. Jim Port Report on WIT’s upgrading to University Status might not be completed even by the end of 2009″, pointed out Deputy O’Shea.

“And, in answer to a further Dail Question in December, Minister Hanafin failed to provide the information sought by me in regard to the number of official meetings that had taken place in her Department regarding the Dr. Jim Port Report and the dates of these meetings”, he added.

The Labour Party Chairman told The Munster Express he had tabled two further Dail Questions for answers. The first seeks to determine the number of official meetings that have taken place so far in 2008 and the date of the official meetings scheduled to take place in 2008 in the Department of Education and Science in regard to the consideration of the Dr. Jim Port Report.

His other question asks what provision, if any, has been made in the 2008 Estimates of the Department of Education and Science in regard to the upgrading of Waterford Institute of Technology to the University of the South East.

Deputy O’Shea said he had long held that the Dr. Jim Port initiative was merely a ploy by the Government to get over the last General Election. It was now imperative that Dr. Port’s Report be published forthwith and the statutory process for upgrading of WIT be commenced.

“I restate my commitment to continue to pursue the upgrading of the Waterford Institute of Technology to University Status as there is nothing more important in terms of the development and future prosperity of the South East Region.

“The brain-drain from the Region must end. The appropriate level of 4th Level Education must be provided so that the Region can play its full part in the Knowledge Economy and develop the required research and development capacity”, he concluded.

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