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'No plans' to close GMIT Mayo campus despite Luke 'Ming' Flanagan claims

The MEP yesterday released a statement claiming that the campus had been downgraded without consultation or transparency.
May 11th 2017, 6:06 AM 14,410 13

THE HEAD OF Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) says there are no plans to downgrade or close the Mayo campus in Castlebar – despite claims by Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan.

The MEP yesterday released a statement claiming that the campus had been downgraded without consultation or transparency.

“Members of the staff at GMIT Mayo have contacted me and have outlined the steps already taken to this end. Run the place down and then tell all concerned that the place is so run down that it’s not viable. We’ve seen this routine before,” he said.

Flanagan claimed that Education Minister Richard Bruton wanted to oversee the eventual closure of the campus.

The civil servants in the Department of Education have some notion that one campus must be more efficient than two. How simplistic. How sad. How backward. Have they accounted for the loss of time due to the nightmare of Galway’s traffic? Have they accounted for the higher rents that students and their parents will have to pay? Have they accounted for the urbanisation of Galway and the depopulation of our countryside that will result from this decision?

However, the President of GMIT Dr Fergal Barry told that Flanagan’s beliefs were not true.

“There has been no decision to downgrade the Mayo campus.

“In fact, we’re investing in the campus and have applied for capital funding through the Department of Education and through the Department of Sport for a new rugby pitch in conjunction with Connacht Rugby.

Like all institutions, we do discontinue courses. We have to deploy our resources responsibly. But we have introduced two new courses – early childhood care and applied social studies. The student numbers are going to grow but there are programmes that aren’t viable.

“But a working group will examine the future viability of the campus that could lead to ring fenced funding.

There is no intention to close the Mayo campus. The Mayo campus hasn’t been downgraded.

A spokesperson for the Department of Education said:

“The Minister on a recent visit to GMIT committed to the future of a vibrant Mayo campus. On that visit the Minister announced the establishment of a working group which will formulate a plan for a sustainable future of the GMIT Mayo Campus in Castlebar. The Working Group will be required to present a full report to the HEA’s Finance Committee in Q3 2017.

The President of GMIT has reaffirmed the commitment of the Institute to finding a viable development plan for the Mayo Campus and has appointed Michael Gill as Interim Head of the Campus to lead these efforts. This will include the further development of the Mayo Campus as a Centre of Excellence in Health Sciences.

“The Mayo Campus has a very important role to play in delivering economic growth and driving regional development.”

Read: Nicki Minaj helped loads of her fans pay off their college fees over Twitter last night

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Paul Hosford


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