Tuesday, 11 October 2011
Investment in Science, Technology and Innovation: Statements
Thomas Byrne (Fianna Fail)
We must have flagships in the country and we should not be afraid of elite education. It can bring people from nothing and make them great. It can make this country great and create shining lights to attract industries. The Government indicates it is happy with ranking when the major universities see major drops but I am not and neither should the Government be happy; it should urgently consider the position and not just accept what university heads say at every juncture, as Senator Barrett would advise. The Government should listen to all the stakeholders, including businesses and educational consumers around the world, as people travel the world for their education. Such people will see less attraction to Ireland as a result of the precipitous fall in ranking for individual colleges.
I apologise for not being present to hear the long speech but I am seriously concerned that there is no appetite in the Government to address the issue seriously or even see it as a problem. The Government seems to be happy enough, although the Government should be deeply unhappy about the precipitous fall in ranking. It should act urgently as there will be a reputational effect. Otherwise, I am glad to see that this Government is continuing - in this area at least - the successful policies of the previous Government.