CLARE County Council is again resurrecting five-year old proposals by councillors to have the University of Limerick renamed.
In what was believed by some to be a April Fools’ joke, the county manager Tom Coughlan said he is writing to the Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan and UL’s governing authority board to request that its name be changed to the University of Clare and Limerick.
UL has not commented publicly, but sources privately said that any name change is not currently on their agenda, nor are there any plans to further expand into the Clare side of the campus, as they have now switched their focus to the city centre.
Furthermore, any costs of renaming and subsequent rebranding would be wildly prohibitive, and would also involve changing the memorandums of understanding with its exchange universities across the world, it is understood.
A spokesperson for Minister O’Sullivan said she could not comment on this proposal at this time. Former UL president Dr Edward Walsh also shot down this suggestion five years ago, when they were first proposed by Clare councillor Cathal Crowe, a UL graduate, who is again backing this proposal.
“The names of great European universities are most usually associated with the city,” Dr Walsh said. “The University of Limerick is a strong title and any addition to its name is more likely to diminish rather than strengthen its international standing. The perception of New York University would not be strengthened by calling it New York and New Jersey University, because it owned property on the New Jersey side of the water,” he said. Independent councillor PJ Ryan called on Minister O’Sullivan to “see sense. More and more of the campus has moved into County Clare and I think that it is unfair for Clare not to be recognised. It’s unlikely that we are going to have a third-level college in Clare at any time in the near future so I think we should claim our portion of this university.”