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 GMIT, LYIT and IT Sligo on course to become a TU for the west and north-west in early 2022

The Presidents of the three institutes of technology in the Connacht-Ulster Alliance (CUA) today (Thursday 28 October 2021) warmly welcome the announcement by the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, TD, that GMIT, LYIT and IT Sligo have together been approved for designation as a Technological University (TU).

This is an historic day for the three institutes as the eight campuses of the CUA collectively take a step closer to becoming a TU in the region stretching from north Donegal to south Galway, with many of those locations set to become university towns for the first time.

The new TU will offer almost 600 academic programmes from pre-degree to doctoral level to a student population of 20,000+ students supported by over 2,200 staff.

Minister Harris says: “ I want to congratulate the Connacht-Ulster Alliance for their work in reaching this landmark day. This is a fantastic day for higher education in the West and North West region, providing for the establishment early next year of a multi-campus university presence across the region, encompassing eight locations in Castlebar, Galway City, Killybegs, Letterfrack, Letterkenny, Mountbellew and Sligo.

The new TU – our fourth since 2019 and second this year – will now take its rightful place in the higher education landscape in a very important strategic part of the country bordering as it will both the Atlantic and Northern Ireland.

“This new technological university will increase higher education access, drive enhanced regional development and increase opportunities for students, staff, business and enterprise, and local communities.”

The International Advisory Panel’s report contained a number of positive findings in respect of the CUA’s application, in particular the depth of evidence of strong links with business, enterprise, the professions, the community, local interests and other stakeholders in the region; the strength of the response to local and regional needs through programme development and lifelong learning activity; and the inclusive nature of internal engagement structures with effective consultation with staff and student unions.

Welcoming Minister Harris’ announcement, the three presidents, Dr Orla Flynn, President of GMIT, Paul Hannigan, President of LYIT, and Dr Brendan McCormack, President of IT Sligo, said: “The new TU will transform the educational landscape of our region, building talent, driving innovation, research and development and propelling us onto an international stage.

Working with stakeholders in the region, cross border and beyond, the new TU will support the needs of enterprises, especially SMEs across the region, though employee education and research, to enhance economic, social and cultural prosperity. It will also deepen collaborative partnerships with national, cross-border and international further and higher education institutions as well as organisations in the public and private sectors.

In due course Minister Harris will formally announce the name and designation day of our new Technological University, and thereafter the appointment of the Chairperson and President. The TU will commence operating as a multi-campus university from designation day”.

Dr Seán Duffy, CUA Executive Project Lead, said: “Today’s announcement is the culmination of many years of work by students, staff and stakeholders across the CUA.  It is a testimony to the calibre of our staff and the spirt of collaboration that has developed between CUA colleagues which will serve us well as we prepare for the next phase of the TU development”.

Welcoming the news today, the Presidents of the three Students Union, Colin Kearney (GMIT), Adam O’Flaherty (LYIT) and Dáire Martin (IT Sligo), said: “This is a momentous occasion for all current and future students of the new Technological University. The Students’ Unions welcome this announcement. The CUASU are proud of the partnership we have built over the past two years and we will continue to work towards a Students’ Union that will always ensure that our members are at the centre of everything we do”.

“We, as the Presidents of our respective unions, believe that the merger will encourage inward investment in the region, so that high quality employment will be available for current and future graduates. The opportunities for international engagement in study, work, and research with university partners across the globe will increase. For new and upcoming students gaining a university qualification in the regions across a variety of levels from apprenticeship to doctorate qualifications, with flexible modes of learning will be possible”.

For further information on the Connacht-Ulster Alliance, please visit:

Watch a short (2 mins) video of the CUA presidents welcoming the good news.

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