An angry Brian O’Shea has increased his already high levels of vitriol towards Education Minister Batt O’Keeffe, describing the Minister’s refusal to initiate WIT’s submission for university status as ‘outrageous’.

The Labour TD said that the “woefully inadequate and downright insulting response” by the Minister was adding insult to injury regarding the Government’s handling of the WIT bid.

Earlier this week, the Minister stated that “there are no plans to advance any of the current applications for university status before the strategy group completes its work”. And that work won’t may not even completed by the end of this year.

“We are being bundled with later applications and told to be patient while yet another prevarication process is spun out,” said Deputy O’Shea.

In a written reply to a question on the WIT bid by the Waterford Deputy, Minister O’Keeffe stated:

“The position is that applications have been received from three higher education institutions for designation as Universities; Waterford Institute of Technology, Dublin Institute of Technology and Cork Institute of Technology.

“The issue of university designation does not just affect the institutions and the regions from which applications have been received; it also impacts on the future structure of the higher education system throughout the country…

“I have asked the strategy group on higher education to report to me before the end of the year with a two-decade roadmap for the development of the sector.

“That group is now critically examining the roles and relationships of higher education institutions so that the system can deliver the levels of efficiency, performance, innovation and growth that will optimise Ireland’s ‘smart’ economic recovery and social development.

“There are no plans to advance any of the current applications for university status before the strategy group completes its work.”

In Deputy O’Shea’s view, it’s all too evident that the Government intended to persevere with “evasive and dishonest ploys” to avoid progressing WIT’s application.

“We cannot make any progress on the long road to establishing the University of the South East until the first step is taken in the statutory process,” he added.

“The economic argument for the university is overwhelming and grows stronger every day but the government expects us to put up with this scandalous situation indefinitely.

“I will not tolerate it and will pursue the Minister and his colleagues until I get the necessary action.”