Independent Waterford City Councillor Mary Roche has disputed Cllr Pat Hayes assertion, made in this newspaper last week, that a letter from Education Minister Batt O’Keeffe indicated a “no” decision on WIT’s application for university designation. “The application is still very much alive”, she maintained.

“I can understand the frustration that led to that comment from Pat”, says Cllr Roche, “but university designation can and must be given to Waterford and I, for one, remain confident. There is nothing in the Minister’s letter other than statements of fact (ie that ITs and universities have different missions) and I do not believe that the Minister has shut the door on this one. On the contrary I think the imperative grows stronger every day”.

“We must remember”, she said, “that both the University of Limerick (UL) and Dublin City University (DCU) were created at the time of our last serious economic crisis in the 80’s and both went on to assist their regions considerably in the fight to get out of that economic crisis.

“It’s not that I am cheerleading for this government,” she said, “far from it. But it is simply unthinkable that in face of mounting internationally respected opinion and in face of a well-developed and unassailable case for the designation of WIT that the government could ignore it all and give in to vested interests. It would go against all logical thinking”, she said. “Neither of the other two ITs seeking university designation have any of those things. All they have done is written a one-pager to the Minister seeking to attach themselves to WIT’s coat-tails”!


See The Munster Express newspaper for a full report.