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Minister Harris celebrates incorporation of St. Angela’s College, Sligo into the Atlantic Technological University

Minister Harris celebrates incorporation of St. Angela’s College, Sligo into the Atlantic Technological University

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD today welcomed the incorporation of St. Angela’s College into the Atlantic Technological University.

St. Angela’s College in Sligo has now dissolved and has become a part of the ATU, the second largest TU in the state now with nine campuses including at Lough Gill and a student population of almost 25,000.

Speaking at St. Angela’s Lough Gill campus, Minister Harris said: “St. Angela’s College, Sligo has long been an important provider of initial teacher education particularly in terms of its home economics offerings not just in Sligo but nationally, and provides higher education programmes across a range of other important disciplines including over two decades in delivering nursing education.

“So becoming an integral part of emerging higher education powerhouse in the West / North West that is ATU has always to my mind been a logical step.

“But it has not been an easy road. Today marks the end of a long journey for many people but it is the beginning of a new dawn for the staff, students and the county of Sligo.

“It joins the Atlantic Technological University – our third largest Higher Education Institution in the State.

“I am conscious this is a sad day for some as St Angela’s is no more but ATU is the future for this great institution.”

Minister Harris thanked the presidents, governing bodies, staff and students of both higher education institutions for the many years of hard work behind the incorporation.

This is the first incorporation under new legislation introduced by the Minister in October 2022 when he amended the Technological Universities Act 2018 to allow higher education providers, or parts thereof, to become part of a TU.

The Minister also indicated his appreciation of the work done by the Higher Education Authority, the President of ATU Dr Orla Flynn and the panel established at his request to advise on the application for incorporation.

Finally, the Minister expressed his gratitude to the Ursuline Order for their gifting of the Lough Gill site and additional lands to the TU stating that their legacy to higher education provision in the region will continue to be appropriately acknowledged going forward by ATU.

ATU President Dr Orla Flynn said: “While formal discussions on the possible incorporation of St. Angela’s College into ATU only commenced a few short years ago, the relationship between the two institutions goes back much further, with both parties involved in initial teacher education under the Western Institute for Studies in Education.

“I want to publicly acknowledge the extraordinary gift from the Ursuline Order, and to welcome everyone from St. Angela’s into the ATU family. We look forward to a very bright future through our combined academic and community-facing endeavours.”

St Marianne O’Connor, Ursuline Order, said: “Our donation of St Angela’s College ensures the continuation of the Ursuline legacy of education in Sligo which dates back to 1850.

“We are delighted with the development and wish the College and ATU every future success.”

Dr Amanada McCloat, President of St Angela’s College since 2019, added: “We have built our values based on a rich history that we are extremely proud of and know that ATU St Angelas will now continue to pave the way for future generations to come.

“Continuously evolving and serving communities near and far, we look forward to many wonderful opportunities for staff and students arising from the incorporation.”


Minister Harris signed Statutory Order No. 356/2023 granting approval to St. Angela’s College, Sligo to become part of the Atlantic Technological University on 6 July 2023. This is the first such incorporation of a higher education provider into an established technological university under an amendment to the Technological Universities Act 2018 provided in the Higher Education Authority Act 2022.

The incorporation became effective from 1 November 2023.

St. Angela’s College has a long-standing and internationally recognised reputation as a centre of excellence in initial teacher education particularly in the field of home economics, as well as nursing and health studies, healthcare management, education, special education, Irish, nutrition, food and business management, science and disability studies.

This incorporation sees Atlantic Technological University become the second largest TU and one of the largest Higher Education Institutions in the state alongside the likes of TU Dublin, UCD and UCC.

The total student cohort of both HEIs is estimated to be just under 25,000 comprising almost 14,000 full time students, over 5,000 part-time students and some 6,000 students undertaking programmes on a distance/ e-learning basis.

The incorporation will have many benefits including:

  • consolidating higher education provision in the West and North-West within ATU, providing a strong base for the education of talent needed across the West and North-West and border region;
  • increasing the capacity of ATU to deliver policies and strategies in relation to regional and national social, economic and cultural growth and development;
  • adding to the programme portfolio of ATU, incorporating the disciplines of teacher education, nursing and home economics, and increasing access opportunities;
  • strengthening the capability and capacity of St. Angela’s as an academic campus of ATU working in collaboration across all ATU campuses;
  • pooling of expertise which will facilitate the development of new programmes in areas not possible to be developed hitherto by any one entity;
  • increasing staff expertise and student enrolments of the enhanced ATU;
  • increased capacity to conduct and supervise research in new fields.
  • building on the significant potential synergies between ATU campuses, and offer value for money through shared services and facilities;
  • the Lough Gill campus and additional lands have been donated by the Ursuline Order to ATU;
  • delivering the strategic objectives of ATU;
  • enhancing the capacity of the enlarged Higher Education provision in the West/North-West to play its part in building regional cohesion as set out in Ireland 2040.