Fianna Fáil TD for Carlow – Kilkenny Bobby Aylward has welcomed a statement from the Higher Education Authority (HEA) of Ireland that they anticipate a technological university status application for the South East by the end of September this year.

The information was revealed at yesterday’s meeting of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) following a question by Deputy Aylward.

Deputy Aylward commented, “At this week’s meeting of PAC, I took the opportunity to question the HEA on the status of a Technological University for the South East. Mr. Tim Conlon, Head of System Governance and Performance Management at the HEA, said that they met with the consultant this week for an update and reported that the educational institutions concerned are working very well together.

“The HEA stated that ‘the project is very much back on track’ and indicated that they expect a technological university status application by September of 2018, for likely designation towards September 2019, should the application be successful.

Deputy Aylward then questioned the HEA on a specific timeline for the status to actually be granted following submission of the application and Mr. Conlon stated,

“That would be a matter for the Minister to decide, but normally when the application would come in we would put together an international accessing panel to access the application, make recommendations to the Minister in fairly short order, the Minister could then designate within the space of two months or so of the application arriving. So, it could be standing designated as a technological university area in 2019, where the application be successful, with the idea that it could be recruiting students by September of 2019.

Deputy Aylward concluded by saying, “We have very bright, ambitious and talented young people in the South East and I am very hopeful that a Technological University for the region will be delivered. The foundation of every state should be the education of its youth and I look forward to following up the application with the Minister upon its submission.”