Deputy Alan Dillon pictured at the entrance to Mayo GMIT Campus at Westport Road in Castlebar.

TD raises fresh concerns over future strategy for Mayo third level facility

Further answers sought on the ring-fenced funding committed to Mayo GMIT Campus and filling of permanent vice-president role at Castlebar centre

A Mayo TD has sought clarity on the recent correspondence issued to staff working in the Department of Business, Humanities and Technology at the GMIT Mayo Campus in respect of the closure of the facility's business school.

Deputy Alan Dillon said it is time for much greater engagement with the executive board of GMIT and the staff in the Castlebar-based campus.

He stated: "This engagement needs to be structured and meaningful in nature. Ideally, it should take place once the interim review of the GMIT Mayo Campus Working Group Report has been finalised.

"Any major decisions regarding staffing should await the circulation of this interim review.

“It is clear that there is a disparity between the information being supplied to the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science versus what is happening on the ground.

"The Higher Education Department has been advised that GMIT has already articulated its full commitment to multi-disciplinary provision at its Mayo campus, including business, but also sees exciting opportunities arising from the growing critical mass and expertise on the campus in health care and wellbeing.

"The recent correspondence issued to staff working in the Business Department flies in the face of such commitments to the provision of multi-disciplinary course offerings.”

“GMIT Mayo Campus is an incredibly valuable asset to Castlebar and Mayo. It is a campus with significant growth plans including the establishment of a new school at the campus.

"But these plans need to be highlighted in greater detail to provide confidence to stakeholders in Mayo and the wider western region.

"It is important to recognise that undue negative commentary can have a significant negative impact on the perception of the college and particularly with prospective students who may be considering studying at the Institute, or indeed their parents.

"It has been a very stressful year for those working in the education sector managing Covid-19 and ensuring continued delivery - this situation is not making their work any easier.”

Deputy Dillon meet with the president of GMIT, Dr. Orla Flynn, on Friday to discuss these concerns in greater detail and gain a better understanding of GMIT strategic plan.

He explained: "This is a facility operating in an increasingly competitive environment and it is vital that we do everything to aid and grow the Institute and ensure it becomes a campus of first choice for more students in the years ahead.

"I'm meeting Minister Simon Harris and officials of his department this coming week for more information on the review of the working group and the ring-fenced funding for the Mayo Campus.”

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