Education Minister Richard Bruton hopes to see the first students enter proposed Technological Universities by September 2018.
Minister Bruton says he is aiming to have legislation on the issue passed by the end of the year.
The Bill would see a number of third level institutions in Dublin, Munster, the North West and the South East merge to form Technological Universities.
Minister Bruton says the Institutes of Technology in Waterford and Carlow resolving their issues means the legislation can move one step closer.
"Waterford and Carlow have now been working very closely together to develop this proposal, they're very well advanced, and this is the key piece of legislation that will add additional momentum to it," he said.
"There were issues around industrial relations that held this back - they were resolved just last month, so now we're in a position to move forward with the legislation."