THE Minister for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, has tonight published the report of the working group on the future of the Castlebar campus of GMIT.
The report provides a wide-ranging assessment of the context within which the campus is currently operating, and outlines a proposed vision for the Mayo facility as well as a strategic and comprehensive plan to address the financial and sustainability issues which have been experienced by the GMIT Mayo Campus in recent years.
In publishing the report, Minister Mitchell O’Connor pointed to some of the measures that would be implemented by her department to support a sustainable future for the GMIT Mayo Campus.
She outlined: “The report provides a roadmap for the sustainable future of GMIT in Castlebar. My department will be working with the HEA and GMIT to ensure that the recommendations are implemented as quickly as possible.
“I will be providing ring fenced funding of €750,000 for the Castlebar campus for each of the next five years while the plan is being implemented. I will also be providing capital funding for the replacement of the roof of the GMIT campus that is currently in need of repair.
“These, along with the implementation of the other recommendations by GMIT, will ensure that the future of the GMIT Castlebar campus is secured”.
In welcoming the news tonight, Senator Paddy Burke said other key recommendations to be progressed by GMIT will be the recruitment of a permanent head of campus for Castlebar, the establishment of a sub-committee of the GMIT governing body to oversee the development of the Mayo campus and the appointment of an interim independent external facilitator to work with the executive board, campus and other stakeholders to oversee the transition to the new structural and operational arrangements.
“It is very good news for the facility,” he told The Connaught Telegraph.
The announcement has also been welcomed by Senator John O'Mahony and Senator Michelle Mulherin.
The working group’s recommendations will be implemented over the next five years, over the period 2018-2022, with a review of progress at the end of year two. There will also be formal progress reports to be submitted to the GMIT Governing Body and the HEA every four months.
Minister Mitchell O’ Connor thanked those who had contributed to the working group report.
“I thank the members of the working group for their participation, as well as those stakeholders who contributed to the process.
“This includes the governing body and management team of GMIT, staff and students in GMIT, and local stakeholders. I hope that we can continue to work together in implementing the recommendations in the working group report.
“The clear message from the publication of the working group report is that the Castlebar campus is open for business and that it will continue to play a vital role in the years ahead in providing educational and training opportunities in the Galway Mayo region and contributing to local and regional economic growth.”
The Working Group was established by the Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton, and the then Taoiseach Enda Kenny in March 2017.
The objective of the working group was to formulate a plan for the sustainable future of the GMIT Mayo Campus in Castlebar.
The working group was chaired by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) and comprised representatives from GMIT, the Department of Education and Skills, and important local stakeholders such as Mayo County Council and local business interests.