Deputy Pearse Doherty has called on Minister for Education, Joe McHugh to engage with the governing board of Letterkenny Institute of Technology to clarify the future of the Killybegs campus and to ensure that it’s future is safeguarded.
This call comes amidst the backdrop of plans for LYIT to move from a four school, to a three school, institution; with the School of Tourism being downgraded to a Department within the School of Business.
Deputy Doherty said this has serious implications for the Killybegs campus as it means that the campus will no longer have a voice at the governing board of LYIT.
He added this has understandably caused concern for staff, students and the community in Killybegs and raises questions for the future of the campus.
He said “I had asked Minister McHugh to give assurances on this; however disappointingly, his Department have decided not to answer those questions and to simply say that they have no legal role, function or responsibility in relation to the specific matters raised.
“While that may be the case, there is nothing stopping the Minister engaging with the governing body of LYIT to seek clarity, reassurances and safeguards for the Killybegs campus.”
“I have also been in contact with Mr Paul Hannigan, President of LYIT on the matter and while I accept that he sees no threat to the future of the campus in Killybegs; I do not agree that the downgrading of the School of Tourism is necessarily a positive development for that faculty or its students given that the Head of the new Department will not now be sitting around the decision-making table leaving the Killybegs campus without a voice at that table.”
“While the fact that LYIT is currently in the process of preparing to apply to become a Technological University with partner Institutions in IT Sligo and GMIT is indeed a welcome development; it does raise concerns for the future of Tourism courses and the Killybegs campus. They cannot be forgotten, and their future must be protected.”
He said he is now asking for is a review of this decision to downgrade the School of Tourism and for a detailed consultation and engagement process with staff, students and the community in Killybegs.
He added “I am also calling on LYIT to consider moving other courses to the Killybegs campus to help sustain it and encourage further economic activity in the community there. There is space and facilities available to do this and this option should be explored.”
“This is a time when we need the very best and brightest minds to help our tourism sector recover and I am asking those with the powers to do so, to make sure that Killybegs can continue to be a centre of excellence for the future of tourism in the country.”Tags: