8 November 2021
By Elaine Murphy
“The first raising of the Munster Technological University (MTU) flag, on its six campuses across the South West, represents a new dawn for higher education in the country” says Professor Maggie Cusack, President of MTU.
An Taoiseach Micheál Martin TD, Minister Simon Harris TD, and Minister Norma Foley TD, presided over the inaugural raising of the MTU flag on November 8th, at 10am.
According to Professor Cusack, the establishment of MTU has been an unqualified success. She said that demand from CAO applicants has surged, with first-preference honours degree applications for MTU courses rising by more than 16%, almost twice the national average, while first-preference degree application levels increased by almost 4%, a very positive outcome in a hugely important programme category. In addition, she said that the KTI Annual Knowledge Transfer Survey 2020 indicated that total research expenditure in MTU exceeded €22M, the highest total achieved across Ireland’s Technological Universities and Institutes of Technology.
An Taoiseach Micheál Martin TD said “At a time when the world is facing major challenges in areas such as climate change and COVID-19, the importance of higher education has never been greater. We will need to maximise our ability to produce talented and responsible graduates who can lead, innovate, create, inspire, and transform. We will need these graduates in every village, town, city, and region in Ireland if we are to achieve the ground-up community engagement required to succeed in a sustainable manner. The development of Technological Universities is a key development in this context, and the establishment of MTU, in particular, will prove to be transformative for the South West Region.”
Minister Harris added: “I am so thrilled to finally attend this important event at Munster Technological University and help celebrate what has been a successful first year for MTU. This new technological university is increasing higher education access, boosting regional development, and increasing opportunities for students, staff, businesses, and local communities. MTU has taken its rightful place in the higher education landscape, benefiting students right across the region, and for that I would like to thank everyone at the former Cork IT and IT Tralee who worked tirelessly to make it possible. This TU, as well as others that have been established, is proving that higher education can deliver regional excellence, while also making the international ambitions of student, staff and communities a reality.”
“I am delighted to have the opportunity to raise the flag at the MTU Kerry Campus and help mark this prestigious occasion” said Minister for Education, Norma Foley, TD. “The formation of the Munster Technological University is a very positive step for the joint communities of Cork and Kerry and is a huge boost for education within the South West region. In the Department it is our imperative that every child has access to the very best that education has to offer, and that they feel supported and cared for within the school environment. I would like to wish Professor Maggie Cusack and all the staff and students at MTU the very best as they continue this tradition in providing excellence in education for communities across the country.”
With a further huge increase to come in the number of students seeking higher education opportunities across the South West, the establishment of MTU could not have come at a better time. Professor Cusack continued “MTU will play a leadership role in the strategic development of the South West region, and, in so doing, will adopt a global outlook and a civic-centric value system. MTU will anchor the development of the South West region, while participating fully on both the national, and international, stages. We will play a central and strategic role in ensuring that there are fantastic opportunities for all to achieve their full potential in education, in life, and in their careers.”
MTU has a student enrolment of more than 18,000 across 6 campuses and offers more than 140 programmes of study. Originally planned for January 1st 2021, the flag raising was deferred until such time as MTU’s key stakeholders would be available to participate in person in an event to mark the establishment of MTU and to recognise this key milestone in the development of Ireland’s higher education system. MTU is the first new university to be established in the South West since 1845.