Cllr George Lawlor sought support at last week’s Wexford County Council meeting to continue to push for a South East Technological University Project that includes the merger of Carlow and Waterford ITs.
Cllr Lawlor raised his concern at a section of a Fianna Fail Waterford briefing document that he received from someone he knew. He brought it to the attention of the councillors, saying that he was ‘taken aback’ when he read it. The paragraph suggested that a Waterford IT should seek University status without a merger and said that ‘it is difficult to understand the reasons why there is a need for WIT/ CIT to merge prior to application except as an attempt to rationalise the institutions’.
After reading the section of the document aloud at the meeting, Cllr Lawlor said that the person who provided it believed that the piece was also sent to Wexford and Carlow authorities.
‘I am asking for assurance that this project is ongoing,’ said Cllr Lawlor.
Councillor Michael Sheehan said the merger ‘needs to happen sooner rather than later.’
‘The Government should go further and appoint a president over the project,’ he said. ‘We can’t be in limbo for much longer. We have been 14 years in limbo.’
Councillor Davy Hynes said that it was vital for Wexford to have the university.
Cathaoirleach Cllr Tony Dempsey reassured the councillors, saying that he was pretty happy that the plan to merge the two ITs is still on track.
‘We need to be careful not to say anything to hurt the project,’ he said.
Cllr Oisin O’ Connell likened the ongoing discussions about the university plan to the relationship between Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind saying:
‘Will they get together, won’t they get together. I don’t care as long as something happens,’ he said. Cllr O’Connell said that they need to push for the university.
‘Before it’s gone with the wind,’ chimed in Cllr Paddy Kavanagh.
(First published in the New Ross Standard newspaper: print edition. Also available online at: http://www.independent.ie/regionals/newrossstandard/news/cllr-george-lawlor-calls-for-movement-on-it-merger-as-part-of-university-of-the-south-east-plan-34818400.html)