Councillors want reassurances over future of Castlebar campus

COUNCILLORS have called for the future of the Castlebar campus of GMIT to be secured following a meeting with its president.

At today's monthly meeting of the Mayo County Council, new GMIT president Dr. Orla Flynn spoke of her strategy to strengthen the campus, by turning Mayo into a university county and Castlebar into a university town, as part of a long-term project to launch a technological university across eight campuses from Letterkenny to south Galway.

A part of this will see the Castlebar campus lead a new faculty in GMIT for health and wellness sciences.

Councillor Mark Duffy (Ind.), a former business student at the Castlebar campus, thanked Dr. Flynn for coming to the meeting as said from speaking to her colleagues, he has heard nothing but positive comments about her record.

He said the talks of a Connaught-Ulster alliance were “very encouraging”. He went on to state the downgrading of the campus has felt like a “death by a million cuts” and in 20 years of education, only one representative from the campus came to promote what the campus has.

He asked for the U-turn of the downgrade of the the business course, better promotion for the campus, the restructuring on the board of GMIT to ensure fair representation from Mayo on the board and Castlebar be the capital of this alliance due to the county town being ideally placed between Letterkenny and Galway.

Councillor Michael Kilcoyne asked would Dr. Flynn be supportive of a separate funding for the Castlebar campus, similar to what Letterkenny is getting, rather it coming through government.

In response, Dr. Flynn said she would be very hard to manage a university if the operation of it is taken out of her hands and done separately.

In concluding her presentation, Dr. Flynn said she is trying to take the campus out of the firing line and have it be seen through an academic lens, not a financial lens, and said her door is open for any councillors to contact her for any specific issues they have.

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