The President of the Institute of Technology Blanchardstown (ITB), Dr Diarmuid O'Callaghan, has welcomed the announcement of a single major capital investment in higher education. The announcement, made jointly by Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton TD, and Minister for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O'Connor TD, promises funding for 11 major capital investment projects which will deliver brand new state of the art facilities to several Institutes of Technology across the country. A major second phase of the development of ITB is one of the projects included in this €200 million Government and Private investment and will mean increased teaching space on campus.
"This is a highly significant and welcome development that follows from a comprehensive and rigorous prioritisation process conducted by the Department of Education and Skills in recent months" stated Dr O'Callaghan. "The €200 million investment announced will provide advanced facilities across the regions to support the ongoing expansion of higher education opportunities for a rapidly growing population, further enhancing research and innovation across key discipline areas, building and strengthening the future workforce in key sectors, attracting and developing intellectual talent and inward investment, and driving economic and social development within the regions and State. This investment will provide further momentum for the Technological University for Dublin Alliance as we work with our partners DIT and IT Tallaght to create a new type of University".
Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton TD stated: "I have set the ambition to make Ireland the best education and training service in Europe within a decade. State of the art facilities are key to realizing this ambition. These projects will be delivered in every province, in locations extending from Letterkenny to Waterford, and from Galway to Dublin. The delivery of these projects, together with the additional €257 million over three years capital funding which we secured last week in the Budget, mark a turning point for State investment in the higher education sector. They demonstrate the commitment of the Government to supporting the sector in catering for demographic growth, responding to skills needs in the economy and improving the campus environment for students and staff."
Minister of State for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O'Connor TD stated "Institutes of Technology have been disproportionately affected by the fall-off in capital investment in higher education over the past decade. And yet they have still shown a level of flexibility and innovation that rivals any other sector. In recent times the infrastructure hasn't evolved or improved quickly enough to match their dynamism. We're starting the process of changing that today. Many of our Institutes are working towards the attainment of Technological University status and the new infrastructure will support them in that aim. The move towards Technological Universities is a game changer for the sector. It's a significant, welcome structural change. And is an example of the kind of vision and big thinking we need to progress our society."
"Today's announcement supports and will enhance the valued relationship that exists between ITB and local enterprise; it supports regional development and it is key to delivering on the current suite of Government policy that is designed to sustain the region's economic recovery", said Dr O' Callaghan.