1st January, 2019 - Minister for Higher Education welcomes establishment of TU Dublin

The Minister for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor T.D. today (1 January 2019) welcomed the formal establishment of Technological University Dublin. 

Minister Mitchell O’Connor said “I am absolutely delighted that after years of hard work by a wide array of people and institutions including the staff and students of the three institutions now merged into this new Higher Education Institution, the Houses of the Oireachtas and relevant Government Departments, this first day of the New Year of 2019 marks the start of a new era in Irish higher education, with the formal establishment of the first technological university in the State, Technological University (TU) Dublin. 

The Minister said: “The emergence of the first technological university is a landmark day for Irish education. New Higher Education Institutions such as TU Dublin will be distinguished from traditional universities by an ethos that is more closely aligned with, and which builds upon, the mission and focus of Institutes of Technology from which they stem. 

As such, they will have an emphasis largely – though not exclusively – on programmes at Levels 6 (higher and advance certificates) up to Level 8 (honours bachelor degree) on the National Framework of Qualifications, and on industry focused research. TUs will also play a pivotal role in facilitating student access and progression particularly through their relationships with the further education and training sector. I very much welcome this aspect because in my view if the student is not at the heart of any HEI, then we are failing in our duty and mission as educators and legislators for the best education possible”.    

TUs will also have a regional development mission and focus on research, innovation and knowledge-transfer particularly in partnership with Small and Medium Enterprises. They will forge close links with business, enterprise and local and regional communities. 

Minister Mitchell O’Connor noted “This is the first TU to be established in the history of the State. However, it did not emerge fully formed but is building on some 175 years of proud higher educational history between Dublin Institute of Technology and the Institutes of Technology Blanchardstown and Tallaght. This milestone new unitary institution, the largest now in the State, spread across three main campuses and with a “virtual” campus, comprising some 28,000 students and over 3,000 staff, will, I am sure, build up and record an equal history of service excellence to its students and hopefully over a similar time period and beyond”. 

Note for Editors 

Technological University Development 

The 2011 National Strategy for Higher Education to 2030 provided for substantial changes to the landscape of Irish higher education including reform of teacher education, improved institutional alignment and consolidation within the Institute of Technology sector and a pathway of evolution for consolidated institutes to become technological universities (TUs). 

Technological universities will: 

    • Support innovation, management upskilling and internationalisation of companies
    • Create the capacity for greater engagement with local enterprises, particularly Small and Medium Enterprises
    • Increase internationalisation activities – attract more international students and increase mobility opportunities for Irish students and staff
    • Provide a key selling point in the attraction, retention and development of Foreign Direct Investment in the regions
    • Facilitate lifelong learning, upskilling and reskilling
    • Provide greater capacity for social and community engagements – placements, work with schools, cultural and sporting activities 

The Technological Universities Act 2018, underpins the establishment of technological universities and was signed into law on 19 March 2018. Three other consortia of Institutes of Technology are currently engaged with the process seeking to become designated as technological universities: 

Munster Technological University (MTU), consisting of Cork Institute of Technology and Institute of Technology Tralee. This TU would encompass some 14,000 students. 

Technological University for South-East Ireland (TUSEI), consisting of Waterford Institute of Technology and Institute of Technology Carlow. This TU would encompass some 14,500 students. 

Connacht Ulster Alliance (CUA), consisting of Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, Institute of Technology Sligo, and Letterkenny Institute of Technology. This consortium would encompass some 16,000 students. 

Since 2013 the Government has co-funded technological university development and related landscape restructuring proposals by some €20 million, some €9.28 million of which has co-funded the Technological University Dublin consortium. 

First President and Governing Body

Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh T.D. and Minister for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor T.D. recently announced the designation of Professor David FitzPatrick, formerly the Principal, College of Engineering and Architecture and Dean of Engineering in UCD for appointment as the inaugural president of TU Dublin. The first president’s term of office commences on 1 January 2019. 

The members of the first governing body have also been appointed with effect from 1 January 2019. The governing body is chaired by Professor Tom Collins who was the joint chairperson of the three Institutes of Technology now being merged. The other members are: 

  • Dr. Caitríona Fisher of the Health Products Regulatory Authority,
  • Ms. Imelda Reynolds, Partner and Chair of the Beauchamps law firm, and
  • Mr. Paddy Lavelle, nominated by the relevant education and training boards in whose areas the campuses of the new higher education institution are situated. 

Under the Technological Universities Act 2018 this core governing body must be put in place and effect the procedures to establish the full governing body of between 14 –22 members by 30 June 2019.