‘No such proposal’ to merge institutes

The Department of Education and local Education and Training Board have scotched rumours circulating of a possible merger between Cavan and Monaghan Institutes.

The suggestion was that behind the scenes talks had taken place within the Educational Training Board due to the low enrolment figures in Monaghan.

However, a spokesperson later told the Celt there exists “no such proposal.”

Acting Chief Executive at Cavan and Monaghan Education and Training Board, Dr Fiona McGrath, declined to comment on the speculation when first asked following last week’s ETB meeting.

The Department of Education also denied any such plan, stating, “there is no such proposal or plan to amalgamate Monaghan Institute and Cavan Institute.”

The statements come amid a series of public consultations, which took place this week at Cavan and Monaghan Institutes to consider a new brand for its Further Education and Training (FET) services in Cavan and Monaghan and ascertain public views on same.

The number of full-time students enrolled in Cavan institute has risen by almost 100 from 863 last year to 962 this year. However the number of full-time students attending Monaghan Institute has fallen from 340 in the academic year of 2019-2020 to 282 at present - down 17 per cent.

In a statement earlier this year, CMETB said the COVID-19 pandemic had impacted significantly on numbers across third level institutions but said data showed the trend had begun to “correct itself”.

Meanwhile, a new campus for Cavan Institute on the Cathedral Road is to get the go-ahead this year. Cllr Clifford Kelly (FF) told a previous meeting of CMETB that the Minister for Higher Education, Simon Harris, is expected to give the go ahead for the project “before the end of the year”.

As it stands, Cavan Institute students are being accommodated at Cathedral Road, the former barracks and in other buildings including at the former St Clare’s Convent in the town.