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Minister Patrick O’Donovan commends MIC’s contribution to education landscape during visit to his alma mater

Minister O'Donovan with Professor Eugene Wall

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science (FHERIS), Patrick O’Donovan TD, made his first official visit to a Higher Education Institution since becoming Minister with responsibility for the sector when he visited Mary Immaculate College (MIC) on Monday 22 April. 

Minister O’Donovan, who is an MIC graduate, met with the College’s Senior Management where he discussed student accommodation in Limerick, MIC’s position in the Higher Education landscape and he commended MIC for its high standard of teaching and learning and its contribution to the education landscape.

Prof Gary O'Brien, Prof Eugene Wall, Minister O'Donovan, Prof. Niamh Hourigan, Mr Michael Keane

The Minister then met separately with President of the Mary Immaculate Students’ Union (MISU), Cillian Callaghan, where he discussed student mental health, supports for students undertaking Gaeltacht placements and the impact of the cost of living on students. 

In advance of Monday’s meeting, the Minister told the Limerick Leader newspaper about how his parents, Nellie and John, had instilled the importance of education in him and his siblings from an early age. 

He said: “When we were young and going to school it was all about work, work, work for them to be able to afford to give us the opportunity to go to third level or do your best in a trade that is going to get you a qualification to stay in the country and rear a family. That’s the biggest gift I think you can give anybody.”

Minister O'Donovan with Cillian O'Callaghan, MISU President

The Minister, who is from Newcastle West, has been a TD since 2011 and has previously held Minister of State positions in the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media; Department of Public Expenditure, NDP Delivery and Reform; Department of Finance; and Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport. He was elected a Councillor for Limerick County Council in 2003 and was a Councillor when he graduated from MIC in 2009.