Fianna Fáil Education Spokesperson Thomas Byrne has welcomed the Government’s decision to agree to significant changes to the Technological Universities Bill. The legislation is due for Dáil Committee Stage debate next Thursday.

“While we always supported the concept of Technological Universities we had deep reservations about the detail of the original Bill and we sought changes. Our concerns were shared by both students and staff in the Institutes of Technology”, said Deputy Byrne.

“We were very keen to ensure that current levels of course provision be protected in all of the regions and campuses of a TU. The revised Bill will provide for this.

“Similarly there were concerns about mergers between Institutes of Technology. The Government has moved on this and mergers will not now take place unless designation as a TU happens simultaneously.  Essentially, no existing ITs will have to merge as a pre-condition of seeking a TU status which might not have been granted.

“Fianna Fáil has also tabled amendments focusing on science, gender equality and multidisciplinary academic provision – ensuring that it is maintained in all regions that TUs will serve.

“It is long past time that this legislation was enacted and for my part and that of my party, I look forward to a constructive debate next week”.