Dr Diarmuid O’Callaghan, present DKIT.

Push for technical university status for DKIT

A range of developments at Dundalk Institute of Technology (DKIT) with a view to attaining technical university status for the third-level educational facility were outlined at the February meeting of Cavan County Council.

A presentation of the plans and ambitions was delivered to elected members by the college’s president, Dr Diarmuid O’Callaghan.

He revealed that DKIT has 5,000 students on its rollbooks at present and provides graduate and post-graduate courses from levels six to 10.

The college’s catchment area takes in counties Louth, Meath, Cavan, Monaghan and Dublin. DKIT boasts a number of schools including Creative Arts, Engineering, Humanities, as well as apprenticeship provision. Dr O’Callaghan said the purpose of the presentation was to engage with stakeholders in Cavan to ensure the college is providing the skills needed for local industry.

The meeting heard there is also a research focus on ICT Health & Agriculture; Renewable Energy; and Creative Arts, which “informs” teaching programmes at the college. Those gathered went on to hear that DKIT is currently involved in three capital projects at the 87-acre site in an effort to “place” itself relative to other higher institutions.

“This will be the driver of the next stage of the strategic plan,” outlined Mr O’Callaghan.

“The priority is to become a technical university as we are not connected at the moment. We want to connect with a university in the region and that university may well be NUI Maynooth.”

Mr O’Callaghan went on to say that he wanted to establish what Cavan County Council needed from DKIT and how the college can strengthen its engagement with local authorities as part of a concerted effort to progress.

Cllr John Paul Feeley (FF) asked why the college was the only IT in the country that hasn’t yet progressed to university status.

In response, Dr O’Callaghan pointed out that DKIT was one of two ITs in the country awaiting connection.

“It’s difficult to run a campus when the power lies elsewhere,” he said, before adding that everyone is working hard to find an “alternative solution”.

Welcoming Dr O'Callaghan to the chamber, Cllr Clifford Kelly (FF) also highlighted links between DKIT and Cavan Institute. He said the importance of strengthening that link going forward could never be understated.