Press Release

Establishment of a School of Podiatry in Ireland

The Minister for Health and Children, Mary Harney T.D., and the Minister for Education and Science, Mary Hanafin, T.D., today announced the establishment of a School of Podiatry at the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG).

The announcement follows a competition organised by the Higher Education Authority on behalf of the Departments of Health and Children, and Education and Science. Six bids were received for the establishment of the School and an international panel recommended awarding the contract to NUIG.

The School of Podiatry will offer the first undergraduate podiatry programme available in Ireland and will lead to a BSc (Hons) in Podiatry (level 8 on the National Framework of Qualifications). Students can apply for entry to the four year course from the academic year 2008-9 onwards and an annual intake of 25 students is planned.

A Podiatry Clinic will be developed by the HSE in Galway University Hospitals –Merlin Park to work in partnership with the School to provide for the clinical education and training components of the programme.

The Minister for Health and Children, Mary Harney T.D, said she was delighted to provide funding for the clinical elements of the programme.

“I am very pleased that the School will open in Galway in 2008 to provide for the clinical education and training needs of undergraduate student podiatrists.

I provided funding for the clinic because podiatry services can make a significant difference to people’s health and quality of life especially in the community. It is important that older people maintain their mobility for as long as possible so that they can continue to live independently in their own home environment. Podiatry services can make a huge difference in maintaining independence and reducing the requirement for more extensive health services.

Podiatry services are also essential to persons with diabetes, which is an increasing problem in Ireland today.

The clinic will also provide podiatry services, which will be of immediate benefit to those requiring such services in the Galway area.”

The Minister for Education and Science, Mary Hanafin T.D., warmly congratulated Galway on its success. She added “ it is clear that the international panel was impressed with the overall quality of the institutional proposals and it applauded the significant work which had been done by each of the six institutions. In thanking the international panel for its work, the Minister expressed her appreciation to the six institutions for the quality of their proposals”.

The FAS Skills and Labour Market Research Unit “Healthcare Skills Monitoring Report” of August 2005 identified Podiatry as an occupation with long term supply shortfalls and recommended that a BSc (Hons) in Podiatry be set up.

The profession of podiatry will be regulated by the Health and Social Care Professionals Council which was established by under the Health and Social Care Professionals Act 2005.