Chambers calls public meeting on future of GMIT Castlebar

Fianna Fáil TD for Mayo, Lisa Chambers has called a public meeting on the future of GMIT Castlebar for Friday 10th March at 7:30pm in the TF Royal Hotel.

“There is a question mark hanging over the future of the GMIT Castlebar campus following news that five degree courses across IT, business and heritage are to be axed at the college. People are rightly asking what is the future for the Castlebar campus and what type of a facility will we have in a few years. A public meeting will facilitate the public having their voices heard on a hugely important issue for our county and hopefully provide some answers for people.”

“There have been widespread rumours of financial difficulty at GMIT and we heard rumours that courses were going to be axed at the Castlebar campus. There is public concern that cuts are being made at Castlebar to ensure Galway is unaffected and that the Castlebar campus is shouldering an unfair level of the cut backs. At a briefing in Breaffy last Monday elected representatives were told by Dr. Fergal Barry, President of GMIT and Michael Gill, head of Castlebar campus, that they are fully committed to Castlebar and intend to bring new courses on line in the near future. Their reason for cutting the five courses is due to what they say are ow numbers applying and taking up places which has made those course unviable.”

“The question must be asked if these courses were properly marketed and given a fair chance of success? We also need to see details of what new courses they plan to offer at Castlebar. This is particularly important to save the reputation of the campus at a time when all people are hearing about is coirses being axed and a college in financial difficulty. It is important we send a positive message about GMIT Castlebar and announce new courses as soon as possible. Prospective students need to hear loud and clear that GMIT Castlebar is open for business.”

“It is vitally important for the future sustainability of the campus that a broad range of courses are offered across all major fields. There appears to be a strong focus on care courses such as nursing and social care, which are very successsful, but we cannot forget our business and IT courses. We must cater for as many prospective students as possible otherwise we will see a gradual downgrading of the campus over time.”

“We cannot underestimate the importance of GMIT Castlebar to the local Mayo economy and the fact it provides an opportunity for people across county Mayo and further a field to attend third level, who otherwise may not have that opportunity. Clearly there is wider issue of third level finding which is a national issue and one we must address. Dr Fergal Barry suggested that ITs need access to borrowing facilities like universities and state funding for research and development projects, these are good and sensible suggestions and something which I fully support.”

“In the mean time however we must stand in solidarity with GMIT staff and students and do all we can to protect the Castlebar campus and support it to grow. The people of Castlebar and Mayo will not allow their college to be downgraded in any way, this is simply not an option. I am urging people to attend the public meeting and make their voices heard.”