Dáil Éireann - Volume 589 - 07 October, 2004

Written Answers. - College Closures.

  130. Mr. McHugh asked the Minister for Education and Science if the decision to close a college (details supplied) in County Dublin will be reconsidered and the recommendations of the consultant and advisors to keep the college open and forge a link with one of the Dublin based universities are implemented. [23837/04]

  Ms Hanafin: The issue of the future of the college, which is the subject of the question posed by the Deputy, arose in the context of a decision by the trustees of the college that, due to personnel and financial considerations, they were no longer in a position to fulfil the role of trustees. Following discussions between the trustees and my Department, it was agreed that a consultant would be appointed who would meet with relevant parties and prepare a report on the options for the college’s future.

The consultant’s report was thoroughly examined in my Department and the options for the future of the college were set out for my predecessor’s consideration. Having carefully considered all of them and having taken into account other factors such as the national spatial strategy, relevant costs in a time of financial constraint, a Government decision to restrict public service numbers, the need to secure value for money and a better allocation of resources, the Minister decided that these considerations are best served by the closure of the college and the designation of St. Angela’s College, Sligo as the sole centre for the training of home economics teachers.

It was agreed that the closure of the college would be phased over three academic years to facilitate students currently enrolled in the college to fully complete their studies without moving location and to ensure that there was an adequate transition period for staff. On that basis there has been no intake of first-year students to the college for the 2004-05 year. Instead, these students are now in St. Angela’s College. Officials from my Department have already met with the trustees and with management authorities of the college to discuss the necessary practical arrangements, including arrangements in relation to the [1678] position of the staff of the college. I have no plans to reconsider the decision to close the college.