Minister Harris says university status for LIT will be huge for Thurles and Clonmel

Minister Simon Harris in Thurles. Photo © Tipp FM

The Minister for Higher Education believes that the Technological University status for LIT will bring both investment and potentially a student housing boost for Tipperary.

The university status will impact on LIT’s campuses in Thurles and Clonmel and this will come into effect in October.

The Minister for Higher Education, Innovation and Science is visiting Tipperary today, as part of a tour of the further education campuses, taking in both the Thurles campus for Mary Immaculate College and Technological University campuses in Clonmel and Thurles.

Speaking on Tipp Today this morning, Minister Simon Harris said this status will mean a lot to the whole Premier County and to both towns.

He said that as well as being able to gain a university degree from studying in Tipperary, there will be other economical benefits.

“When I talk to the IDA and when I talk to Enterprise Ireland, they talk about attracting investment into a county, attracting jobs into a county – they point to access to higher education as a big part of it.

“While our institutes of technology have served us well, it’s not a brand that is known internationally.

“Technological Universities are understood internationally, by investors, by foreign direct investment as well.

“I genuinely believe it will help, bringing higher education as close to the region and to have conversations in the county about what do we in Tipperary want to be really good at and what to we in Tipperary want to attract?”

The Minister also hopes to give Tipperary’s Technological University the borrowing power to build student accommodation.

While the university status has been widely welcomed, there are already concerns about general housing shortages and the impact this will have on accommodation for students.

Minister Simon Harris said he hopes to speak to people from both MIC and LIT about possibilities for housing in both towns.

“At the moment, Institutes of Technology and Technological Universities have not been able to borrow in the same way that traditional universities have, so as a result, they haven’t been able to build their own purpose built student accommodation.

“I’m in very intensive talks with both Minister McGrath and Minister Donohue to see if we can alter the borrowing framework, so what it means is I want to see the rules changed, so the Technological Universities can build their own purpose built student accommodation.

“Again, I’ll be interested in hearing from both MIC and the Thurles and Clonmel campuses to see what possibilities there are there and I think there may some particularly in Thurles.”