College closure row

September 10, 2004

Irish Education Minister Noel Dempsey is in hot water over a decision to close a training college for home economics teachers in Dublin and transfer its course to Sligo, on the west coast.

Documents released under the Freedom of Information Act show he rejected the recommendations of a consultant's report he had commissioned, as well as the advice of one of his senior officials.

Both recommended keeping St Catherine's College of Home Economics in Dublin open. They suggested that a link with University College Dublin would enable it to stay in the capital and give the college added academic clout.

Last year, Mr Dempsey said he was taking the decision for economic reasons and in line with the Government's National Spatial Strategy, to promote development outside the Dublin region.

The opposition Labour Party plans to table a parliamentary motion demanding the decision be rescinded in the light of the information contained in the documents.

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