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*Professor Vincent Cunnane, the inaugural President of TUS with Minister of State for Skills and Further Education Niall Collins (FF) at the official launch. Photograph: Julian Behal. 

Ennis is now officially a university town following the opening of Ireland’s first transregional university – Technological University of the Shannon: Midlands Midwest.

TUS comprises a student population of more than 14,000 and a staff complement of approximately 2,000 people working fulltime and part-time across an extensive footprint spanning six campuses in Ennis, Athlone, Limerick (Moylish and Limerick School of Art and Design), Clonmel and Thurles.

Recognition as a Technological University will enable TUS to offer a more diverse range of research and to award degrees in new areas of speciality, while it will remain committed to retaining and building upon its ethos of providing higher education to all those who would benefit from it. The name TUS is inspired from the Irish translation of tús meaning beginning.

Included in the TUS logo is the River Shannon which links the geography of the Midwest region and the Midlands while also symbolising the “flow of knowledge and ideas”.

An official launch was held through an interactive opening ceremony that took place in the Athlone International Arena and the Millennium Theatre Moylish on Friday.

Minister of State for Skills and Further Education Niall Collins (FF) and inaugural TUS President Professor Vincent Cunnane were among the keynote speakers for the ceremony.

“Education plays a critical role in building a strong and resilient Irish society and economy,” Junior Minister Collins stated. He believed the future of the education sector and regional development “has never been more positive and promising”.

A lasting legacy will be left by TUS that will bolster the three regions involved from an education, social, economic and cultural perspective to benefit generations to come, inaugural TUS President, Professor Vincent Cunnane commented.

“Achieving TU status creates momentum that will have a far-reaching positive impact for generations to come. We are incredibly proud of our dynamic student base and our skilled and ambitious staff, across each of our six campuses, whose shared values and ambition we celebrate as we look forward to an exciting ‘new beginning’. Not only is today a momentous day for our staff and students, it is also hugely significant for the wider economic landscape of the Midlands and Midwest with an estimated economic impact of approximately €420 million per annum,” he said.

Professor Cunnane added, “TUS will be a research and innovation hub for enterprises and will foster a wider and deeper skills base that will make the regions more attractive for inward investment. This will help grow future jobs and incomes as well as deeply impacting the social and cultural fabric of the communities we serve”.

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