03 December, 2015 - Minister O'Sullivan announces publication of Technological Universities Bill

The Minister for Education and Skills, Jan O’Sullivan T.D., has today announced that the Government has approved publication of the Technological Universities Bill, 2015 which will provide for the modernisation of the Technological sector with new governing authority structures, a process for the merger of institutes of technology and a statutory process for merged institutes to apply for designation as a Technological University. 

Announcing the approval of the Bill, Minister O’Sullivan said, “The establishment of multi-campus technological universities with a distinct mission to provide high-quality, enterprise-focussed higher education for their regions, and for Ireland, is one of the key planks of the Government’s National Strategy to Higher Education. The publication of the Technological University Bill is an important step in progressing this vital reform”. 

The Bill, which will be available on the Oireachtas website in the coming days, is the first major piece of legislation relating to higher education since 2006.

The Bill provides for significant changes to the governance structures in the institute of technology sector. The Bill provides for the use of a competency framework which will set out the criteria deemed necessary for between 3 and 8 appointees to the governing body.  These new arrangements will ensure that governing bodies of Institutes of Technology and Technology Universities will have the expertise required to oversee the development and management of modern higher education institutions and will include competence in areas  such as corporate governance, finance, law and enterprise.  

Notes for Editors

Current status of TU Consortia:

In terms of the process for the development of Technological Universities, both the TU4Dublin Consortium, made up of Dublin Institute of Technology, Institute of Technology, Tallaght and the Institute of Technology, Blanchardstown and the Munster consortium, made up of Cork Institute of Technology and the Institute of Technology Tralee, are working towards a full merger in 2016.  

The mergers planned as part of the TU4Dublin and Munster TU projects can proceed when the Technological Universities Bill is enacted and the relevant provisions commenced.  

An expression of interest (first stage of process) was received earlier this year from the Connacht-Ulster Alliance (Galway Mayo Institute of Technology, Sligo Institute of Technology, and Letterkenny Institute of Technology) and the Minister recently approved this application to proceed to Stage 2 of the process to meet the criteria for designation as a Technological University.

With regard to the Technological University for the South-East, a preliminary facilitation process, involving the Chairs and Presidents of both Waterford Institute of Technology and Carlow Institute of Technology, has been underway since early September and there has been strong engagement in the process by both parties.