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Dáil Éireann debate -
Thursday, 17 Apr 1969

Vol. 239 No. 11

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - University for Limerick.


asked the Minister for Education if he will make a statement on the latest position in regard to the provision of a university for Limerick.


asked the Minister for Education whether he has rejected the recommendation of the Lichfield Report regarding the provision of a university for Limerick; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

With your permission, a Cheann Comhairle, I propose to take Questions 11 and 12 together.

The position in relation to the matter raised in these questions is that I have accepted the broad lines of approach recommended by the Higher Education Authority. Steps will be taken shortly to appoint a director and establish a planning board which will consider the details associated with the early establishment of an institution of higher education in Limerick.

I want to ask the Minister whether or not he has considered the recommendations of the Lichfield Report in this respect, in other words, I would like to ask the Minister if he has rejected completely the possibility of this proposed institute being given proper university status and, in view of the fact that status and title are more or less synonymous, could the Minister say if he will now agree to have this proposed institute called the University of Limerick?

I should like to ask the Deputy a question. Did the Deputy read the memoranda which were published last week and which contained the Higher Education Authority's recommendations? At paragraph 12 of the memorandum it specifically states:

Such a distinctively new form of higher education is, in effect, that contemplated in the Lichfield Report of February, 1969, except that our recommendations are made in a national rather than in an exclusively regional context.

So that, in effect, what Lichfield said was that he recommended for the region an institute of higher education orientated towards technological requirements. That is precisely what is now being given to Limerick. I would appeal to the Deputy to deal with the matter in a responsible way. We had a very constructive discussion last Friday in my Department with representatives of the Limerick University Project Committee. We detailed the courses recommended by the Higher Education Authority for the new institute in Limerick. Everybody parted in a manner which indicated that there was general agreement that this type of institute was appropriate to Limerick's and Ireland's requirements. I do not think anything should be said here which would disturb the happy, harmonious feeling that now exists in Limerick in regard to this institute.


Is there as much harmony in the Cabinet? If there is, we know where we stand.

The Minister obviously did not get the point I was trying to make in the last supplementary. The Minister's interpretation of Lichfield and mine seem to be somewhat different. Is it not a fact that Lichfield recommended a college of technology and a university in the one campus but that the institute should be called the University of Limerick?

I would suggest to the Deputy that nomenclature in this context is irrelevant. We are offering courses of degree status in this institute and that is what counts.

Will it be a university?

As long as the courses are effective, as long as the personnel there are persons of standing, and as long as the courses are given the recognition at home and abroad to which they are entitled, I am happy to pursue a type of education there which will amalgamate both technician and technological teacher training and a university type education of degree category.

Why not simplify the whole thing and call it a university?

Question No. 13.

A rose by any other name.

Why not call it a university?

Mr. O'Malley

When does the Minister expect the college to start?

I expect to make an announcement in regard to an advertisement for a director—a top class person to set this going—along with the staff that he will require as a team inside the next fortnight.

That shows June is the month.

Could the Minister say when the Bill will be circulated?

We are not concerned here about a Bill. We are concerned with getting the job done of appointing a director and a team to set up this institute. There will be an advertisement in our national newspapers inside a fortnight seeking applications for the position of director to set this institute going.

Might I inquire if this advertisement will be paid for by the Exchequer or by Upper Mount Street?

That is a separate question.