Munster technological university: Time to focus on the bigger prize

Business ambitions do not always go to plan, as last week’s floatation of Uber confirmed. The ride share company had hoped to hit $80bn — well below the $100bn once anticipated — but closed below $70bn.

Even if the high-end target was missed by $30bn— tragedy comes in many forms — it shows planning and realisation may be bedfellows but discord is a possibility. That cloud hangs over our national children’s hospital and rural broadband projects.

Those experiences offer lessons and it must be hoped that as the process of amalgamating Cork Institute of Technology and IT Tralee to establish a Munster Technological University moves up a gear this week that they have been absorbed.

An international panel arrives tomorrow to assess a joint bid. That panel has many issues to consider, at least two fractious. CIT has said it will not assume responsibility for Tralee IT deficits estimated at €10m with the potential to rise to around €21m.

Promises once made of Cork Airport offer a sobering lesson in this regard. There are issues around how senior roles might be reallocated if the bid is successful.

The establishment of institutes of technology, a relatively recent development, was a catalyst for enriching economic and social advances and that process cannot be jeopardised. This is an instance when institutional and personal ambitions are trumped by educational and social obligations. It’s time to focus on the bigger prize.

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