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Noel Coonan Quizzes Colm McCarthy

Tipperary Institute

Tipperary Institute

The recent Fine Gael parliamentary party ‘think-in’ in Cavan on Monday last, was attended by Fine Gael Deputy for North Tipperary Mr.Noel Coonan.

Colm McCarthy, author and Chairperson of An Bord Snip Nua, was a guest speaker at the meeting which addressed the current economic and budgetary crisis.

Attending at the gathering, the Deputy later met with Mr Colm McCarthy and strongly highlighted his concerns over the report’s recommendation to abolish Tipperary Institute.

Deputy Coonan put the point to Colm McCarthy that the recommendation to close Tipperary Institute was fundamentally flawed and based on totally incorrect facts with regard to present student and staff numbers.

Mr. McCarthy confirmed that the figures stated in his report had been supplied by the Department of Education.

Deputy Coonan interrupted, stating that it was important to realise Department of Education bureaucrats have difficulty in coming to terms with a rural development institute outside the remit of primary, secondary and third level education and appear to make little room for rural institutes. Comparing the Bord Snip findings, in this case, to the referee’s decision to give that dubious penalty against Tipperary in the All Ireland Final, Deputy Coonan stated that were Mr McCarthy to review his findings in this case, using correct and well informed facts, he would agree that he too had got it wrong in his recommendation to abolish Tipperary Institute.

Deputy Coonan went on to state:

“I also strongly put it to you Colm that the McCarthy Report is an unprecedented attack on rural Ireland with its recommendations to close Garda Stations, cutbacks in farming, especially REPS4, cutbacks in health services and the axing of the Rural Transport Programme. I will continue to oppose the closure of the Tipperary Institute and I will fervently continue to highlight my deepest concerns and the fears of the people of North Tipperary to much of the content, stated in your report.”

McCarthy Firm on Decision To Terminate Tipperary Institute

An Bord Snip Nua , first released on 16 July 2009, stated that Tipperary Institute “has a high complement of staff (100) compared to the number of full-time students (338). The Group recommended that the institution be closed with existing students re-assigned to nearby IoT’s. The campus should be disposed of, for the benefit of the Exchequer.”

However, Deputy Coonan informed Mr. McCarthy that the figure quoted were incorrect and reflect full-time students only. He stated that the Institute had close to 700 students, when part-time students are included and when this is calculated as Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) students, the correct figure is 455 and rising. Furthermore, Deputy Coonan pointed out, that when correctly calculated, the staff figure stands at only 60 staff which could be attributable to mainstream academic activity.

Colm McCarthy then outlined to Deputy Coonan that it is not possible to have a third level institute in every provincial town and he remains resolute in his recommendation to axe the Tipperary Institute. He also stated that the the report’s aim was to make savings to the exchequer and that is what it was doing.

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