One of the buildings currently used to house Cavan Institute.

Hopes of further education developments in Cavan

The Taoiseach says he hopes there’ll be more cross border cooperation on education matters in the coming years.

Local TD Brendan Smith (FF) raised the need for further collaboration on an all-Ireland basis as it is only done on an adhoc basis presently.

He told the Dáil that he’s encouraged by Minister Simon Harris’s strong interest in the area and the establishment of his new Department, that of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science.

Deputy Smith says this, and the Government’s Shared Island Initiative, now offer a real opportunity for “structured cooperation” in the education sector.

He said Cavan Institute in particular is well placed to lead the charge by having “specific sister college arrangements with similar institutes in Northern Ireland”.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin described the suggestion as “a very good point” and echoed the calls for more structured cooperation in education.

He said, through the Shared Island Initiative, he’s hoping to get educational institutions together and to create partnerships, something the Government would support.

Mr Martin says work is already underway in terms of third level and research partnerships and further education partnerships would be something the Government would look favourably on.

He says, while there are already partnerships in some border areas, it needs to be more structured.

Institute Campus

Meanwhile, Further Education Minister Simon Harris wouldn’t be drawn on a timeline for the provision of new accommodation for Cavan Institute.

CMETB has taken ownership of the former army barracks on the Dublin Road in Cavan Town and approval was given for interim accommodation at the site in recent months.

However, while it’s hoped the site will allow the centralisation of Cavan Institute into one facility, there is a need for more permanent accommodation.

Deputy Niamh Smyth (FF) asked the Minister for a timeline for the provision of new facilities.

Minister Harris replied, restating the approval for new temporary accommodation but did not give a clear answer on when it would be provided.

He said “the new National Development Plan provides for a step up in capital funding for the further education and training sector. Significant planning work required to underpin this major programme of FET investment is being advanced by my Department, in conjunction with SOLAS”.

“A framework for applications for major FET capital projects, in line with the provisions of the Public Spending Code and the Future FET Strategy, will be confirmed shortly. Once that framework is in place, SOLAS will engage with CMETB on the information required to bring this project to the next stage.

"The formal process required under the Public Spending Code will allow options to be considered in relation to the potential campus location and other relevant project parameters.”