Cllr David Fitzgerald, Chairman, Kilkenny County Council; Minister with Special Responsibility for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O'Connor; and Colette Byrne, CEO of Kilkenny County Council
A new report commissioned by Kilkenny County Council concludes that there is a very compelling educational, social and economic case for locating a higher education campus catering for 1,000 students in Kilkenny, and that all options should be explored including tying into the proposed Technological University of the South East (TUSE) being jointly pursued by Waterford IT and IT Carlow.
The report was launched this afternoon at the Parade Tower by Minister of State for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor. It says that demand for Third Level education places nationally over the next 10 years supports the case for Third Level capacity expansion in general, and for a campus facility in Kilkenny in particular.
The report concludes that Kilkenny is an ideal location to help provide for this expansion, and while it does not advocate that Kilkenny should seek to have a stand-alone Third Level facility, it does outline options as to how Kilkenny can successfully achieve this in the short term.
Kilkenny County Council has set a base target of 1,000 full-time students, and says that a facility of this scale is not just necessary but is also feasible.
The report recommends that any such facility developed in Kilkenny should be based on niche areas that reflect the county’s economic activities and strengths across disciplines such as design, crafts, animation, heritage, tourism and the agri-food industry.
“Kilkenny County Council is already developing proposals for centres of excellence in the areas of precision agriculture and design thinking with Waterford IT and IT Carlow respectively," said the Minister of State.
"Kilkenny is synonymous with high quality Irish craft / design and the agri-food industry and a Third Level campus would serve to further build on these areas of expertise and strengthen the county’s economy.”
For more, see this week's Kilkenny People.