Funding for a new Library, IT and Teaching Building has been announced for Letterkenny IT (LYIT), as part of the Department of Education and Skills €200 million investment in Institutes of Technology. LYIT President Paul Hannigan welcomed this announcement and said that this was profound in the future growth of the Institute and its region. He commented, “This announcement is a vote of confidence in LYIT and what the Institute has achieved in recent years and the ambition it has for the future”.
The announcement, made by Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton, and Minister for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O'Connor, promises funding for 11 major capital investment projects which will deliver brand new state-of-the-art facilities to Institutes of Technology across the country. Speaking at the announcement, Minister Bruton stated, “I have set the ambition to make Ireland the best education and training service in Europe within a decade. State-of-the-art facilities are key to realizing this ambition. These projects will be delivered in every province, in locations extending from Letterkenny to Waterford, and from Galway to Dublin. The delivery of these projects, together with the additional €257m over three years capital funding which we secured last week in the Budget, mark a turning point for State investment in the higher education sector. They demonstrate the commitment of the Government to supporting the sector in catering for demographic growth, responding to skills needs in the economy and improving the campus environment for students and staff”.
Minister O'Connor said, “Institutes of Technology have been disproportionately affected by the fall-off in capital investment in higher education over the past decade. And yet they have still shown a level of flexibility and innovation that rivals any other sector. In recent times the infrastructure hasn’t evolved or improved quickly enough to match their dynamism.
“We’re starting the process of changing that today. Many of our Institutes are working towards the attainment of Technological University status and the new infrastructure will support them in that aim. The move towards Technological Universities is a game changer for the sector. It’s a significant, welcome structural change, and is an example of the kind of vision and big thinking we need to progress our society”.
John Andy Bonar, Head of Development at LYIT, said, “Everyone at LYIT is delighted with this very welcome announcement which we believe will further facilitate LYIT’s contribution to the development of a dynamic Regional Innovation Ecosystem in Ireland’s Northwest Region consisting of world-class businesses, a creative community and an innovative and engaged education sector”.
The 11 projects will be procured on behalf of the Higher Education Authority and the Department of Education and Skills by the National Development Finance Agency.
While the intended location and skills focus of projects has now been announced, it should be noted that all proposals will be the subject of ongoing technical appraisal and economic analysis to ensure value for money is achieved. This process will inform the final scale and scope of each project, which will be approved and announced prior to procurement.