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"Bonkers, mad and bizarre" for South East Technological University HQ to be anywhere but Waterford

It would be ""bonkers, mad and bizarre" for the headquarters of the new South East Technological University to be anywhere other than Waterford.

That's according to Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris who announced the university's first chairperson, Dr Patrick Prendergast, during a visit to Waterford this morning (Monday).

In an interview on the Déise Today programme with Damien Tiernan, Minister Harris confirmed the former President and Provost of Trinity College will take the role on the new Governing Body which will also include Jim Bergin, the CEO of Glanbia Ireland, and Ruth Beadle, Head of Insulins Manufacturing Cluster at Sanofi.

The South East Technological University, as it will be named, is the fifth technological university in the State to receive formal designation.

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Minister Harris said he wished Dr Prendergast, Mr Bergin and Ms Beadle, the very best in their new roles, saying having an inaugural governing body with such vast and invaluable experience will be of huge benefit to the Technological University as it embarks on its new journey.

He also said the first university presence in the region marks a truly historic moment in higher education for staff, students, regional stakeholders and local communities in the South East.

Making the announcements on WLR this morning, the Minister also revealed commercial negotiations are ongoing to secure the former Waterford Crystal site as part of the planned expansion of the technological university.

He said he was hoping for progress on this "urgently".

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He said decisions such as course selection and the appointment of a new President for the SETU would be a matter for the new governing body who would ultimately be responsible for deciding on how the facility grows with Government responsible for the funding.

On the issue of where the headquarter would be, he said headquarters were essentially "just offices" and what was more important was to increase the numbers of students in Waterford from the 10,000 currently to 15,000 by 2030.

There was a proposal to secure a site in Wexford and a campus in Kilkenny was being looked at but he would be "bonkers, mad and bizarre" in anywhere other than Waterford was the headquarters.

He also accepted that people in Waterford would feel sceptical about the new technological university until they see it in operation, referencing the fact it will be judged "on its delivery".

He said technological universities, in his view, were "modern universities of the 21st century".

Prof Patrick Prendergast, who is the new chairperson of the governing body, served as President and Provost of TCVD for ten years and his standing in the academic and research community is extraordinarily high.

His appointment, said Minister Harris, is a real declaration of ambition by SETU and a sign that the new university, building on the work of WIT and its partner institution - Institute of Technology Carlow - will seek an enhanced impact on the South East region, nationally and internationally.

More here on the latest for Waterford.

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