Belfast Telegraph

Thousands of extra student places pledged with 100 million euro investment

The Government is spending the cash on five building schemes as part of its Project Ireland 2040 initiative.

NUI Maynooth University, Co. Kildare, Ireland (PA)
NUI Maynooth University, Co. Kildare, Ireland (PA)

By Cate McCurry, PA

A 100 million euro cash injection in five third-level education building projects will support an additional 14,000 student places, the Government has announced.

The investment is part of the Project Ireland 2040 initiative.

Some 25 million euro will be spent on a new technology society and innovation building at Maynooth University, with an increase of more than 3,000 students.

The project includes more than 10,000 metres squared of new build construction, as well as the refurbishment and upgrading of existing space on campus.

Some 6.6 million euro will be spent on extending the central campus project at IT Sligo.

This project will include a complete rebuild of J Block with an investment of 18.58 million euro, turning the single-floor 1970s building into a modern four-storey complex that will enhance the modern, state-of-the-art campus.

Some 25 million euro will go to the new state-of-the-art Business School building at UCC in Cork city centre, while NUI Galway will get a 15 million euro cash injection towards its plans for a major regeneration of the existing library building.

UCD will have 25 million euro pumped into its new phase of camp development, which will feature the creation of some 22,500 metre square of teaching, learning and research space.

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Education Minister Joe McHugh (Niall Carson/PA)

Education Minister Joe McHugh said: “The funding announced today facilitates a total investment of more than half a billion euro in higher education infrastructure over the coming five years.

“This will have a major positive impact on the sector’s ability to cater for significant increases in enrolments over the coming decade.

“We are planning and investing for the future and with that we are driving choice and increasing options for students around the country.”

He added: “Ambition is at the heart of these plans. These projects and new buildings will have an important regional and national impact but they will also enhance the competitiveness of Ireland’s higher education system on the international stage.

“I am particularly pleased at the projected level of non-Exchequer investment alongside the Government investment.”

The projects that have been approved in principle for funding will significantly advance the objectives of Project Ireland 2040 Higher Education Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor

Between 2017 and 2030, the number of full-time students enrolled in higher education is projected to increase by more than 38,000 to a total in excess of 222,000.

Minister of State for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor said: “Today’s significant announcement complements other capital investments in the sector, including the Higher Education Public Private Partnership (PPP) Programme and the development of the TU Dublin City Campus at Grangegorman.

“Private finance played a critical role in the development of our university campuses during a time of particular difficulty for the public finances.

“This co-funding approach responds to calls from the sector for a greater level of state support while recognising the continued importance of leveraging other sources of investment.”

She added: “The projects that have been approved in principle for funding will significantly advance the objectives of Project Ireland 2040, including in underpinning the talent pipeline that is essential to Ireland’s growth as an economy and society, and in supporting regional objectives.

“The buildings themselves will be highly innovative and sustainable, future-proofed to support the most up-to-date approaches to teaching and learning, and designed to facilitate the multi-disciplinary engagement that is so critical to tackling the challenges of today and of the future.”

PA

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