Technological Universities Bill 2015: Committee Stage (Continued)

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Select Sub-Committee on Education and Skills Debate
Vol. 2 No. 23

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Deputy Jan O'Sullivan: Information on Jan O'Sullivan Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan Unless this is where this is coming from, it may well be. I have received representations from the trade union but I do not recall seeing that as a particular issue but it may well be and it may well have been raised by them.

Deputy Jonathan O'Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien I have concerns around the inclusion of staff associations.

Deputy Jan O'Sullivan: Information on Jan O'Sullivan Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan Again, we can check and see if there are any specifics available on that. Certain trade unions would have negotiating rights that cannot be in any way modified. We are just putting it in because it is a standard term used in legislation to ensure we are being comprehensive. It is not designed in any way to water down the role of trade unions.

Chairman: Information on Joanna Tuffy Zoom on Joanna Tuffy Would one of the issues relate to the freedom of association provisions in the Constitution? Would it be to cover those provisions?

Deputy Jan O'Sullivan: Information on Jan O'Sullivan Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan We try to be consistent in all legislation when using these terminologies. Sometimes that prevents problems arising later and legislation being challenged. It is entirely designed to be comprehensive and in conjunction with standard procedures for legislation in general.

Chairman: Information on Joanna Tuffy Zoom on Joanna Tuffy Are there any other comments or questions on that amendment? How stands amendment No. 7?

Deputy Jonathan O'Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien I press the amendment.

Amendment put and declared lost.

Section 2 agreed to.

SECTION 3

Question proposed: "That section 3 stand part of the Bill."

Chairman: Information on Joanna Tuffy Zoom on Joanna Tuffy Are there any questions or comments on the section?

Deputy Jonathan O'Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien We will be bringing forward an amendment on Report Stage.

Chairman: Information on Joanna Tuffy Zoom on Joanna Tuffy Will Deputy O'Brien give us some indication of the amendment?

Deputy Jonathan O'Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien We will be looking to amend the proposal that the dissolution would be made by the Minister.

Question put and agreed to.

Sections 4 to 6, inclusive, agreed to.

SECTION 7

Question proposed: "That section 7 stand part of the Bill."

Deputy Jonathan O'Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien We are opposing this section.

Chairman: Information on Joanna Tuffy Zoom on Joanna Tuffy Does Deputy O'Brien wish to make any comment on the section?

Deputy Jonathan O'Brien: Information on Jonathan O'Brien Zoom on Jonathan O'Brien The section provides, "The Minister shall, by order, appoint a day." This power rests solely with the Minister and we think it should be not just the Minister's call but that it should be done on the recommendation of the governing body or that there should be some mechanism within the institutes themselves to indicate that they are ready for dissolution. This section does not allow for that. I will flag now that the same objection applies to section 10.

Chairman: Information on Joanna Tuffy Zoom on Joanna Tuffy Does the Minister wish to make any comment?

Deputy Jan O'Sullivan: Information on Jan O'Sullivan Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan The main purpose of the Bill is to provide for the establishment of technological universities, which is a new type of higher education institution, to be formed through the consolidation and merger of existing institutes of technology. Chapter 3 of Part 2 provides a general mechanism for the merging of consortiums of institutes of technology to form new institutions of greater scale. This mechanism includes assessment by an expert panel of their application to merge. In 2014, consortiums in Dublin, made up of DIT and the institutes of technology in Blanchardstown and Tallaght, and in Munster, made up of Cork Institute of Technology and the Institute of Technology, Tralee, were assessed by an international expert panel and found to be on a clear trajectory to meet the very robust performance and quality criteria that had been set down for merging institutes which wished to apply for the new technological university status.


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