The current WIT campus in Waterford
Waterford City & County Council have a significant role to play in delivering a University for the South East and one city councillor believes that they haven’t been doing nearly enough.
“Our local authority should be leading the way in the delivery of a University in Waterford, but unfortunately they just haven’t been doing that,” said Fianna Fail councillor Eddie Mulligan.
"As the new Waterford City & County Development plan is being researched and prepared for the next six years, the Council, under its economic and enterprise responsibilities, must take a leading role in creating the University ready and smart city of the future by ensuring that there are plans and actions within the new Development Plan as to how we make a University City, a reality," the recently re-elected councillor added.
According to Cllr Mulligan, the Waterford Institute of Technology is already operating at University level from a research, innovation and undergraduate & postgraduate program point of view and that must be built upon, especially considering the fact that “72% of students are from the South East.”
“History and statistics show that people from Kilkenny, Wexford and South Tipperary are attracted to sourcing employment in Waterford - we must build upon this critical mass demand and create a strong South Eastern Region around a University City,” Cllr Mulligan said.
“In the City Development Plan about to expire, ‘supporting the delivery of a University for the South East region’ has effectively become a statement. Waterford Council has done nothing over the last five years to deliver a University City. There are many International academic papers with evidence endorsing the economic impact of Universities on a City and a common dissertation summary is that economic benefit of a University is likely to exceed the cost.”
Cllr Mulligan said that the council are right to focus on the development of the North Quays but that development and the creation of a University in Waterford are “intrinsically linked.”
“International Companies will only invest where there is a University and a good healthcare system,” he said.
“Waterford City, as identified in the National Planning Framework, must be the solution to an economically strong South East and we as elected members must do our bit to deliver a University-ready city as the catalyst and the staff of the WIT have overwhelmingly voted that they are ready to academically lead the way."