Louth county councillor Colm Markey
Louth county councillor Colm Markey has called on the President of Dundalk Institute of Technology to move without delay to find a partner institute or institutes with which to apply for Technological University (TU) status "before it is too late".
According to Cllr Markey, the Dublin Institute of Technology, Blanchardstown IT and IT Tallaght have already come together to form Technological University Dublin (TUD), Ireland’s first TU.
Other clusters of Institutes of Technology (ITs) are at advanced stages of negotiations to join up and seek TU status, while DkIT is currently putting efforts into going a different direction by creating a cross-border Higher Education Institute with Southern Regional College, a further education college in Newry.
Fine Gael Cllr Markey says he believes this move has some merits as regards a cross-border link, but will leave DkIT below standard in comparison with its neighbouring IT counterparts, as a link with a further education college would not give DkIT anything like the status afforded by Technological University status.
“It is clearly set out in the legislation that no IT can achieve TU status on its own without a partner institute,” said Cllr Markey. “If DkIT does not identify a partner institute among Ireland’s IT’s very soon it will be forced to accept whatever terms it can get, slotting into an existing partnership between other ITs.”
He added: “DkIT has a central role in the educational landscape of the North East and we must do everything we can to ensure its future success.”
Markey said that he understands that lecturers of DkIT are strongly in favour of moving immediately to seek TU status with IT partners, and the TUI, which represents the academic staff of DkIT unanimously passed a motion on February 5 calling on DkIT to move to apply to become a Technological University under the March, 2018 TU Act.
“The pressure is now on Dr. Micheal Mulvey, DkIT president to put this issue firmly back at the top of the agenda as it’s clear that achieving TU status has to be the absolute priority for DkIT if it is to remain a driving force for education and enterprise in the North East.”
Markey concluded: “Staff in the college are very concerned about the situation and fearful that the institute’s current direction will damage its potential and its future, with consequent damage to the North East as a whole. DkIT needs to get on board the TU train before it has left the station.”