LYIT School of Tourism, currently based in Killybegs, is to be moved to the Letterkenny campus, the LYIT Governing Body announced today.
The move is part of an overall Three Year Financial Plan which LYIT will submit to the Higher Education Authority (HEA) tomorrow.
The HEA had asked for the plan as part of its drive to ensure future sustainability in the sector.
LYIT’s core funding has been cut by 43% in the last five years, with the loss of more than 70 staff. The institute faces a projected annual deficit of €1.9 million in the coming years, 75% of which is attributable to the School of Tourism in Killybegs.
The LYIT Governing Body said today that continuing the current operations in Killybegs “is not a viable option unless the HEA makes additional funding available”.
The Governing Body proposes the establishment of a forum comprising of Institute and Killybegs community representatives to engage with and keep the community appraised of on-going developments with the HEA.
There will be no impact on the School of Tourism programmes for the academic year 2013/14..
Sinn Féin TD for Donegal South West Pearse Doherty described the decision as “appalling”.
He said: “I think the decision made by the Institute of Technology Governing Body today is appalling and flies in the face of the original intentions of Donegal VEC members who believed that the future of the college was secure in Killybegs when transferring control of the college to LYIT.
“While I appreciate the very real financial constraints that LYIT is currently operating under, the removal of the School of Tourism to Letterkenny will have a huge impact on the reinvigoration of the town of Killybegs, which has suffered hugely as a result of the decline in the fishing industry.
“I am calling on the Governing Body of LYIT to reconsider their decision to base their financial plan on the removal of the School of Tourism from Killybegs and to stand with the local community to secure the necessary funding to retain the Killybegs campus.”