‘Grave concern’ for future of two GMIT campuses

Galway Mayo Institute of Technology’s two rural campuses face the threat of closure due to Government underfunding, a trade union has warned.

The Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) said it is “gravely concerned” by continued funding cuts to the Institute of Technology sector.

The TUI namechecked GMIT’s campuses in Castlebar in Mayo and Letterfrack in Connemara as two being under threat of closure due to being starved on cash.

The trade union issued a statement after the Galway City Tribune revealed last week that Galway city headquartered GMIT is planning to ‘cut-adrift’ its Mayo campus.

We revealed how GMIT informed the Higher Education Authority (HEA) chairman, Michael Horgan, that the Mayo campus is “not financially viable”.

GMIT said it was “not financially sustainable” for it to “support the campus from its own resources”.

In a letter to the HEA, Jim Fennell, GMIT Vice President of Finance and Corporate Services, appealed for the reinstatement of state grants to subsidise the Mayo campus.

Mr Fennell pointed out that the Mayo campus was set up in 1994, “at the behest of the Department of Education” with the support of ring-fenced funding.

He said it was recognised over 20 years ago that the campus would require continued financial support, and a commitment was given that Mayo “would not be a financial burden” on Galway. He said that GMIT had supported the Mayo campus despite “significant reductions” in state support over the past five years.

“We now wish to advise you that GMIT is not in a financial position to continue this financial support,” he said.

He said it is the view of GMIT Governing Body that, “while the support of regional development is highly desirable, the Mayo campus is only sustainable if the state funding model is amended to reinstate the dedicated funding for the (Mayo) campus”.

The letter has sparked consternation among staff and students in Castlebar, and has also spread fear and doubt among those based at Letterfrack, which is also a financial strain on the institute.

 

For more on this story, see the Galway City Tribune.