23.12.2022 / Press Release

Minister Harris announces commencement of construction of six new higher education buildings

From:  Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris has today welcomed the conclusion and signing of the contracts for the construction of six new buildings across multiple campuses in the eastern, southern and midlands regions.

The buildings, which are being delivered by Public Private Partnership (PPP), will cost approximately €250 million ex VAT to construct. They are located in the Technological University Dublin (TU Dublin) Tallaght and Blanchardstown campuses; Munster Technological University (MTU) campuses in Cork and Tralee, the Athlone campus of Technological University of the Shannon (TUS) and in the Institute of Art, Design and Technology (IADT), Dún Laoghaire.

Speaking today, Minister Harris said:

“This is a really important development in higher education.

“The construction of these buildings on multiple campuses across the country will improve the educational experience for current and future generations of students.

“It also represents an important milestone in the government’s Higher Education PPP programme and illustrates a commitment to investment in the higher education sector.

“We look forward to the construction progression of each of these six buildings over the coming years and look forward to welcoming the first students to the new buildings. The future is bright.”

When all six buildings are completed, they will comprise circa 38,060 m2 of additional building space at the campuses and will cater for 5,147 additional student places. In addition, the provision of these buildings will free up space in existing buildings and allow for new student places.

The buildings will have a strong focus on supporting practice-based learning, including laboratories, workshops and studios. They will also have significant flexibility to adapt to changing teaching and learning needs, and to support hybrid and remote learning.

The contract has been awarded to the Enbarr Partnership, comprising Macquarie Capital Group Ltd. (equity provider), JJ Rhatigan & Company (construction contractor) and Sodexo (facilities management). The project will be funded by AIB, Bank of Ireland, Nord/LB, Korea Development Bank and Norinchukin Bank.

The Higher Education Authority, acting as the Sponsoring Agency, worked with the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science as Approving Authority. The National Development Finance Agency (NDFA), part of the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA), was responsible for the procurement of this PPP project on behalf of the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science. The NDFA will continue to be involved during subsequent phases of the project.

As with other PPP projects in the education sector, the contract type is design, build, finance and maintain. The Enbarr Partnership will construct the buildings using private finance, and will then operate and maintain the buildings over a period of 25 years. Payment by the department will be by way of monthly unitary charge over the 25 year operational period, commencing once construction has been completed.

Andrew O’Flanagan, Director, National Development Finance Agency and NewERA, commented on the project, said:

“Working in collaboration with the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, this announcement represents an important milestone in the delivery of an additional c. 5,147 student places across six academic buildings.”

This project is being delivered under Project Ireland 2040 which recognises that investment in education is central to achieving a strong, future-proofed economy, balanced across the regions, and a just society in which all citizens are enabled to fulfill their potential.