Senator Aisling Dolan - Strong Voice, New Vision.

New Shannon TU will drive innovation and investment to transform communities in Midlands and West

October 01, 2021

New Shannon TU will drive innovation and investment to transform communities in Midlands and West

New Shannon TU will drive innovation and investment to transform communities in Midlands and West

The new Technological University Shannon: Midlands Midwest will drive innovation and investment that will transform communities in the Midlands and the West, a Fine Gael Senator has said.

Senator Aisling Dolan, who is Fine Gael’s Education Spokesperson said: “This is such an exciting time for first year students across the Midlands and the West who will now be starting at a brand-new university. In our area the new TU Shannon Midlands Midwest is building on Athlone IT & RTC from its start as a 'A Field of Dreams' for young people in the Midlands and Roscommon, East Galway in the West.

The Technological University Shannon: Midlands Midwest Is bringing Athlone IT & Limerick IT together with 6 campuses in Athlone, Limerick (2), Clonmel, Ennis and Thurles with a student population of 15,000 and 1,200 university staff.

Government has made it one of its key priorities, as reflected in the Programme for Government, to ensure that there is a network of TUs across the country so as to ensure balanced regional development and more equitable access to higher education nationally. Minister Simon Harris and the Department of Further & Higher Education along with former Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor worked closely with the AIT & LIT consortium and together, we are making real strides in achieving that goal. There has been an investment of €12.9 million to date in total funding for TU Shannon Midlands Midwest development under the Transformation & Restructuring Funds.

This new university met and exceeded milestones in relation to research students, availability of part-time, industry and flexible course programmes as well as 45% of staff at doctoral level or equivalent. Students here will be provided with the highest quality campus facilities and learning environments. Across the new university’s six campuses and through connected digital infrastructure they will be able to study how and where they choose.

I look forward to the regional outreach and campuses in Roscommon & Ballinasloe to support our new university. We need 3rd level centres of excellence in research & innovation to embed industry and support start-ups and entrepreneurship in our region. We should be ambitious in making the Midlands and West a place to live and work. The aim is to attract significant FDI and to make the Midlands and the West the place for excellence in Polymer Technologies, Medtech, Pharma and Engineering

The new university in Athlone is also renowned for sport. Thousands of people admired the AIT International Athletics Arena which highlighted how our third level institutes are embedded in the fabric of their communities with AIT used as a vaccination centre for the region. The Shannon TU will reflect our communities and region and be a champion of excellence and research for the future.

From today, the new Technological University will start its journey to drive higher education access and inclusion, research informed teaching and learning excellence, and assist in more balanced regional development and socio-economic progress. It is education delivered in the regions for people in and of the regions

Congratulations to the AIT-LIT consortium on this incredible achievement which involved key project managers and close to 200 staff. Congratulations to Professor Vincent Cunnane, the new inaugural President for the TU Shannon university combining strengths with Limerick IT and celebrating the 50th anniversary of Athlone IT with Professor Ciarán Ó Catháin as it moves to a new chapter. I give my very best wishes also to the new Chair of the TU Josephine Feehily, and to the community of lecturers, researchers, staff who are now part of this wonderful university for the Midlands & the West.

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Simon Harris added: “This is a very historic day for the region with the new Technological University Shannon: Midlands Midwest starting today. This will be a game changer for regional development, investment and access to higher education in the regions."