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Tuesday 30 May 2023 Dublin: 11°C
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# rumbles on
Waterford IT chair steps down to allow for 'new blood' amid merger controversy
Last month, Waterford IT pulled out of a planned merger with IT Carlow.

MINISTER JAN O’SULLIVAN today paid tribute to the contribution of Dr. Donie Ormonde, the Chair of Waterford Institute of Technology, who is stepping down from his position amid the controversial merger proposal between Waterford and Carlow IT.

Last month, Waterford IT pulled out of a planned merger with IT Carlow.

The minister said that the Ormonde was stepping down to allow for “new blood” to accompany the new process of consultation linked to the proposed creation of the university of the South East.

‘New face’

“Dr. Ormonde feels that he has brought the project as far as he can and believes that the time is now right for a new face to progress it to a successful conclusion,” said O’Sullivan.

She commended his “lasting legacy in Waterford Institute of Technology” as well as his commitment to the institution and to the students and staff.

“Donie leaves WIT with its reputation as a leading third level institution enhanced as both WIT and Carlow now chart a new course for third-level education in the South East,” said the minister. 

O’Sullivan announced today that she has appointed Michael Kelly, a former Secretary General of the Department of Health and former Chair of the Higher Education Authority, to lead a process of consultation with the governing bodies, staff and students in Waterford Institute of Technology and Carlow Institute of Technology to “develop a shared vision for a technological university in the South East”.


Kelly has been asked by the minister to report on the best structure to implement the South East university project and the potential timescale.

Speaking about the merger between the two institutes, she said Government is committed to the South East project, stating that she firmly believes in the merits of the project for the region.

I fully acknowledge the work that the leadership of both institutions have committed to the project but it’s also true to say that momentum has slipped in recent weeks. 

I believe asking an experienced, impartial third party to engage with both institutions and the wider community has the capacity to create a clear vision for a technological university in the South East and the contribution it can make to the region.

I expect to receive Mr. Kelly’s report in early January.


The TUI, who represents lecturers in the institutes, said today that they welcomed this afternoon’s announcement of a new process of consultation in relation to the proposed technological university for the South East.

TUI Assistant General Secretary Aidan Kenny said that a survey that TUI carried out among members of Waterford Institute of Technology and Institute of Technology Carlow in 2013 found that 60% of members polled were unsatisfied or very unsatisfied with the consultation process used by their Institute regarding the proposed merger.

These findings were presented to the presidents of both Institutes but not enough was done to remedy the situation.

“It is now essential that meetings are arranged between TUI representatives and both Institutes, and also with Mr Michael Kelly,” he said.

Read: The Education Minister gave the head of Waterford IT a “tough” talking-to this morning>

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