Independent Waterford City Councillor and WIT Governing Authority member Mary Roche has called on the Government to grant university designation to Waterford Institute of Technology “without further delay”.
She argued: “It is almost three years since WIT made application to the Government for university designation and almost a year since the long awaited and much abused report by Dr Jim Port, which was commissioned by the Government, was finally published. It surely makes a mockery of the Government’s own legislation if it continues to refuse to allow WITs’ case be adjudicated on by an International Panel, as set out in a Section of the Universities Act 1997”.
“We run the risk at this stage”, says Cllr Roche, “of our hard-worked and comprehensive application being totally out-dated by the Government’s lack of action on what is a vital issue for Waterford and the region.
“Waterford has been devastated by job loss announcements over the past years and months in particular”, she said “and if the Government’s own National Spatial Strategy is to mean anything then the South East Region, which alone suffers by having no university, must be given the tools to stimulate and deliver real regional growth.
“Dr Port stated in his report that WIT is already ‘operating at University level’ and deserves to have its case examined. The Government has the legislation but we have had three years of delay and prevarication,” said Cllr Roche. “Perhaps we can expect an announcement in advance of next year’s local elections when surely Fianna Fáil will want to give something to try to reverse their terrible showing in the 2004 equivalent.
“Personally,” she said “I don’t care what the reason, but we need university designation and we need it now”.