FINE GAEL’s youngest Councillor Tom Raine yesterday called on party leader Enda Kenny to commit to granting university status for the Waterford Institute of Technology ahead of the next general election.
Tramore town councillor Mr Raine, 20, said his own party has “not been clear enough” on committing to university status for WIT weeks after Mr Kenny told a Young Fine Gael summer school that his party would “trigger a process to do the analysis for a university of the south east”.
However, Mr Raine, who is also the deputy mayor of Tramore, said he believes the party’s position on WIT may have changed.
Mr Raine, who is a business studies student at WIT, said: “When I joined Fine Gael last year it was clear in [party] policy that if elected to government Fine Gael would start the process to make WIT a university.
“Now we have all this talk of an ‘analysis process’.
“That gives me the understanding that Enda Kenny is getting second thoughts about giving us what we vitally need in Waterford, a university.”
Mr Raine said a university for the south east could be one of the biggest single issues in advance of a general election.
It was, he said, too critical to be used as a political football.
He asked: “Are Enda’s many previous statements now more of the same empty promises that politicians in time gone by have used to win elections?”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved