Plan to devise 'a strong plan' for Mayo campus is revealed

EDUCATION Minister Richard Bruton has made a fresh statement on the future of the Mayo GMIT Campus.

He said he recognised that the government needs to ensure a strong future for the Castlebar campus.

To this end, work is being done to devise 'a strong plan so that it can develop in the future'.

The minister made his comments in response to issues raised in Dáil Éireann by Castlebar-based Fianna Fáil Deputy Lisa Chambers. 

She stated: “There is a clear commitment in 'A Programme for a Partnership Government' to equality of access to higher education in terms of supporting an increase in the number of flexible courses and opportunities available.

“Last week the Castlebar campus of GMIT announced the cutting of five courses at the campus, which clearly represents a loss of opportunity and access to those particular courses. The courses relate to IT, business and heritage.

“The announcement came at the end of many months of rumours of financial difficulty at GMIT across its four campuses.

'How does the minister plan to address the funding crisis currently being experienced in third level, especially in institutes of technology?

“The people of Mayo are extremely concerned at the apparent downgrading of the Castlebar campus.”

Reacting to the minister's statement, former Castlebar town councillor Harry Barrett stated: 'This is a totally meaningless statement that fails to address the gaping hole that is the €2 million that the minister cut from the GMIT budget in 2014/15.

'Secondly, it's highly likely that Minister Bruton will shortly be out of this ministry, after the next election.

'It would be far better if Deputy Chambers got a commitment from her own education spokesperson that Fianna Fail will restore this funding gap as he will probably be the minister in less than a year.'