Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Mr Simon Harris, TD, paid a visit to Carlow College, St. Patrick’s on Monday, 15th November, meeting staff and students, whilst experiencing firsthand the historic and strategically located town centre campus. On arrival, Minister Harris was welcomed to Ireland’s second oldest Higher Education Institution, by the College President, Fr. Conn Ó Maoldhomhnaigh and College Vice President, Helen Maher.
Adhering to the appropriate measures required under Covid-19, the Minister was then brought on a tour of the College campus. Minister Harris was delighted to have the opportunity to engage with some of the College students and staff and welcomed their contributions.
Minister Harris concluded his visit with a meeting with the College President, together with representatives from management and the College Governing Body. Fr. Ó Maoldhomhnaigh noted that the visit marked “a key milestone” in Carlow College’s history to date. The President went on to inform the Minister that Carlow College has pursued its educational mission over 238 years, during which the regional, national and international context has changed continually. Throughout this period, the College has looked to adapt to these changing circumstances in a manner which has remained relevant to the needs of society and true to its educational objective. The President went on to inform the Minister that over the years, at local level, the College has embarked on a process of deepening collaboration with the Higher Education Sector and since 2017, has engaged in discussions with his Department and other stakeholders regarding the future strategic positioning of the College and integration into the higher education framework in the South East Region.
Speaking during his visit to Carlow College, Minister Harris said: “I was delighted to visit Carlow College today, and to meet with so many dedicated staff and students. The past 18 months have been incredibly difficult for everyone, but it is heartening to hear how Carlow College adapted to all the challenges Covid has brought, and through a lot of hard-work and a willingness to be agile in its teaching methods, it continues to deliver for its students. For this, the staff and governing authority deserve huge praise and I was delighted that I was able to finally visit today to deliver that message in person.”
Helen Maher, College Vice President stated that “hosting Minister Harris has provided a wonderful opportunity to showcase the unique and transformational educational experience Carlow College has to offer third-level students. Carlow College’s strong teaching and research expertise in the area of Arts, Humanities and Social Studies has been of particular benefit to a diverse constituency of students in the South-East Region and further afield and we look forward to making a significant contribution to higher education provision in the region into the future.”
Speaking after the meeting, Fr. Ó Maoldhomhnaigh said he was deeply appreciative of the Minister taking the time out of his busy schedule to visit the College. He went on to say that he “was delighted to meet Minister Harris in person, particularly as it marks a key milestone in our plans. We had an excellent meeting and discussed the many developments happening at Carlow College, St. Patrick’s and our strategic priorities. Our region is facing an exciting future in the context of the planned developments for higher education and I very much welcome the recent announcement regarding the establishment of the new Technological University for the South East. We recognise the significance that this holds for all stakeholders in the region and further afield and acknowledge the huge efforts on the part of both the Institute of Technology Carlow and Waterford Institute of Technology in achieving this hugely important objective.”
Main Image: Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD is pictured arriving to Carlow College, St. Patrick’s and being welcomed by College President, Fr. Conn Ó Maoldhomhnaigh and College Vice President, Helen Maher. Pic: Karl McDonagh.