I should like to take up the question of degree level courses and to have added the words "diploma level courses and certificate level courses". At some future time the college may wish to establish these courses. For instance they may form part of the in-service teacher courses the college might like to provide.
Thomond College of Education, Limerick, Bill, 1980: Committee Stage.
Does that arise on this section?
It is an omission. I can take it up at a later stage if the Chair wishes.
Section 4 possibly.
Has the Minister resolved the question of the spelling of "Thuamhumhan" or "Thomond"?
I am standing by the spelling in the Bill.
Then far be it from me to differ with the Minister on this——
—on a Doric subject.
The Minister and the college might like to be in agreement on the subject and perhaps he could sort out the problem amicably with the college.
Just to clarify a point, why is there a need to be a member of the college? Why is there a need to define membership of the college?
The purpose behind it is one that is in line with membership of the institutes we dealt with in the House.
In relation to subsection (3) could the Minister indicate what is intended by this special provision? It is not a provision entitling the college to award honourary degrees because the degrees of the college will be those of the National Council for Educational Awards. Is it a device by which the college can, for example, in exceptional circumstances award entry to the college to persons who might not be qualified, strictly speaking, on academic terms but whose experience and other attributes might suit them for taking up the course?
The purpose of subsection (3) is to give the maximum freedom to the institution to get the services one way or another — it has nothing to do with honorary degrees — of people who are proven in the particular areas, whether it is physical education, metalwork or rural science.
This refers as much to potential teachers as to potential students?
I think so. The actual qualifications for teaching positions will be specified anyway.
On the question of the omission of references to certificate level courses and to diploma level courses, it would be wise to allow the college to be empowered to have certificate level courses. There may be a very good reason for awarding certificates or diplomas in respect of specialist courses which it is hoped the college will run. It may help teachers to pursue such courses if, having pursued them, they get a recognised qualification in a specialist field. The best way to do that would be to allow the college to award certificates or to run certificate level and or diploma level courses. I think it is a serious omission in the Bill.
In relation to section (1) 4 (c), I feel the Minister is overriding the governing body in this respect. The governing body has a part to play in the decision to lay on a course and I would prefer to see words such as "the function of the college shall be to provide such other courses as they may from time to time determine and under such conditions as the Minister may lay down." The governing body should be the initiating body rather than the Minister imposing power.
In relation to subsection (1) (e), which says that subject to the approval of the Minister, after consultation with an tÚdarás, the college may buy and acquire lands or buildings, Subsection (2) of section 2 already gives this power to the college. Why is it necessary to repeat that?
There are problems here because one of the basic things we have to remember is that we are setting up a college of teacher education, and I am sure Deputy Collins will agree with me that it is hardly a matter for dispute that one of the longest and hardest battles which was fought by teachers over the years was the right to an all-graduate profession. Presumably, this is the reason for the limitation in the terms of reference of the college.
There may even be power under section 4 (1) (c) for courses other than degree courses to be provided in certain circumstances if the Minister deems it appropriate. Perhaps this would meet the point Deputy Collins raised. The general question of the degree nature of teacher qualifications is not in doubt. There may be a wider philosophical question about the propriety of educating teachers in institutions in which teachers only are educated, but that is another debate and I do not propose to go into it now. I underwrite the teachers' right to a degree and I see the primary function of the institution as providing graduate teachers. In another context I am sorry that the old problem of the non-graduate teacher has not been adequately tackled and, presumably, will be left to the care of posterity to deal with. Those points are relevant on the section.
The first point was the one made by Deputy Collins about the omission of certificates and diplomas. They are not mentioned because the purpose of the Bill is purely to provide suitable degree level courses for the training teachers. Deputy Horgan rightly said that this was connected with the long campaign to have an all degree teaching profession. This does not preclude other courses in the future being made available in the college. The college is specifically for training physical education teachers and teachers of the specialist subjects, as they are called. No doubt the college itself will see its role as being supportive of the teachers when they are actually in the profession and there is no reason why they cannot provide in-service courses for the teachers in these areas. It is a teacher training institution and the decision elaborated over the years of having an all-graduate teaching profession more or less imposes the obligation of having a degree level course in the college.
With regard to the point made on section 4 (1) (c) by Deputy Collins, there is no intention in the Bill to override the college's initiative because, apart from that section saying "such other courses as the Minister may from time to time determine," of course the college itself has the power to initiate courses. There is no way that that will preclude the governing body's initiative.
With regard to the point made on section 4 (1) (e) that there seems to be a superfluous subsection, subsection (2) of section was mentioned. It says that the college "shall be a body corporate with perpetual succession and power to sue and be sued in its corporate name and to acquire, hold and dispose of land." That was the general empowering of the college and the other powers flow from it.
In section 4 (e), the power is specific — to buy and acquire lands or buildings, to institute and, if thought fit, to award scholarships, prizes or other awards. Actual money is involved there. The other is more or less a general legal definition of the body corporate and the powers which flow from the fact that it is a body corporate.
Deputy Horgan made the point about the old graduate profession and, indeed, I take his point that it is debatable as to whether teachers only should be educated with teachers in an institution. It might be regarded as an academic weakness, but Members of the House will recall that I have a vision of the complex at Limerick — when it has had time to develop, grow, flex its muscles — involving a technological university with the National Institute for Higher Education in Limerick, Thomond College, and the training college for teachers, Mary Immaculate College, being involved in a development there. I hope to live long enough to see that. The usual date which I put on that possible development is about the end of the century, which is not so far away.
I am not terribly happy with the Minister's reply. Section 4 (b) refers to providing courses for teachers already serving in such schools and institutions as may be determined by, in this case, the Minister. Again, it is the Minister who specifically determines the courses, which is wrong. The governing body should determine the courses, with the approval of the Minister. There is a difference here because responsibility lies properly, and should lie properly, with the governing body to initiate courses. I am satisfied that the Minister should sanction the courses. I agree with the Minister on that, although I am not even very happy doing that. Emphasis must be placed on the fact that the governing body should be seen as being the pre-eminent agent in respect of the provision of courses. In section 4 it is the Minister who is specified in (b) and (c). There is no reference to the governing body having the right to initiate courses or to lay on courses with the sanction of the Minister. I am not happy with that situation. It is a theme which has recurred in the NIHE, Limerick, Bill and the NIHE, Dublin, Bill, where the Minister is given the all-powerful presence in the Bill. I do not agree with that. The emphasis should be on, as far as possible, a reasonable independence for the educational institution, in this case Thomond College. Of course, I agree with teachers having professional qualifications and a degree. That has already been said on Second Stage. However, I am making the point that the Minister has far too much power — or at least, is seen to have far too much power, even though what he has said differs from what actually is in the Bill.
Coming back to references to diplomas and certificates, section 4 (b) refers to providing courses for teachers. They may be able to provide courses, but will not be empowered to award certificates or diplomas. That is the omission to which I am referring and that is an obvious omission from the Bill. There should be an enabling subsection in the Bill to allow an award of a certificate or a diploma, apparently under the sanction of the NCEA, for such courses as in-service teaching or other special courses which the college may, in future, provide. There is no reference in the Bill to the awarding of certificates or diplomas and I am putting it forward that this is an omission. I ask the Minister to give consideration to my points on Report Stage.
I do not at all see the necessity for the point which Deputy Collins is labouring. Courses to be provided for teachers already serving in such schools are obviously in-service courses in the fields of study for which Thomond College caters. It is very important that the Minister and the Department of Education — which, in fact, deal with the qualifications of teachers and must be satisfied with these qualifications — should have a very strong say in the type of course and the person who should be taking such a course. The teacher in an in-service course, by definition, has already the basic necessary qualification. Subsection (b) states that it is simply the college's function to provide courses and the courses will be funded through the HEA, on the basis of a recommendation from the Minister. We simply indicate what teachers will benefit by particular in-service courses and the courses will be run and funded on that basis.
The Minister is aware that there are posts of responsibility in our schools and it may very well be an extra qualification for teachers to accumulate, if they can get a certificate for special areas which would carry the appointment of a post of responsibility. That is my reason for raising this question. I congratulate the Minister on subsection (2) (b) where recognition is given to the fact that orders made under this subsection must have the approval of the Houses of the Oireachtas, which is different from merely laying the orders before the Houses and giving 14 or 21 days before they automatically pass into law. I am pleased to see that the Houses are being given recognition so far as a positive decision must be taken by the Houses of the Oireachtas in relation to orders made under this subsection.
Amendment a.1 is in the name of Deputy Horgan. Amendment b. 1 is related. Deputy Horgan will move amendment a.1 and we shall debate b.1 with a.1.
I move amendment No. a.1:
In page 4, subsection (4), lines 41 and 42, to delete paragraph (b) and substitute the following:
"(f) one of those members shall be appointed on the recommendation of An Chomhhairle Oiliúna:
(g) two of those members shall be appointed on the recommendation of the Irish Vocational Education Association;".
I apologise to the Minister and the House for the delay in circulating this amendment, which was in no way due to the staff of this House but to my negligence in not getting it to the staff in time.
On a point of clarification, lines 41 and 42 of the Bill, paragraph (b) are mentioned. Lines 41 and 42 refer to paragraph (f) in my copy of the Bill.
Yes, that is a misprint.
We shall have to get clarification on that.
It should refer to paragraph (f) instead of (b).
It is a printing error.
Sections 5 and 4 are, taken together, the heart of the Bill. Section 4 did not present many problems as, over a number of pieces of legislation, we have teased out most of the issues involved in power and functions. In relation to membership of the governing body, which comes under section 5, a number of issues need to be discussed. It is always a difficult balancing act for a Minister and a Government and, indeed, for the Houses of the Oireachtas, to try to satisfy the legitimate desires of interested groups and persons involved — especially in education in which representative bodies of one kind or another proliferate — and at the same time ensure that the body will be an effective one, will do its work with expedition and will not be unduly hampered by internal wrangling. The third desideratum is that the public interest should be well served by the nomination by an appropriate number of members by the Government of the day.
The particular nature of this institution could be better reflected in the governing body than the Minister's formula has it. We are dealing with an institution which will provide for the training of teachers of education and, not least, for teachers of what are traditionally known as the specialist subjects — metalwork, woodwork and so on. These subjects have traditionally been their preserve for some 50 years and even though in recent years the subjects concerned have spread to all kinds of schools at second level it is true to say that in historical and present-day terms the bulk of this work has been carried out in the vocational sector. The critical question we have to face is whether or not the vocational sector should have the explicit right of representation on the governing body not just out of concern for ancient piety but because the vocational sector still has, as it has always had, something very definite to contribute in terms of experience and knowledge to this whole area.
I was surprised at the absence of any representative vocational education body in the list of organisations with the right of nomination to the governing body and even more surprised at the explicit reference to the fact that two of the members to be appointed shall be appointed on the recommendation of AnCO. We are all aware of the fact that AnCO have a considerable amount to do with the kind of subjects the teachers will be trained in at these colleges but we should also be aware that AnCO's involvement in this area is by and large through the vocational education sector. To that degree AnCO is, if anything, subsidiary to the vocational education sector in the exercise of its responsibilities in this area. The Minister may say that he has no objection in principle to what I am saying and that he may quite easily appoint, and presumably intends to appoint, under paragraph (4) (i) a representative of the vocational education body. I do not believe that is enough. In order to ensure adequate representation for vocational education at this critical level I am urging that one of the members in the Minister's formula should come from AnCO and that one of the three members to be appointed under paragraph (4) (i) should be allocated to the IVEA by way of nomination from that body.
That would not disturb the overall numbers of the governing body of the college. It makes a specific representation for the IVEA on a level which is equivalent to that of the representation of full-time students of the college and is smaller than those who shall be appointed from the governing body of the Limerick NIHE or from the academic staff of the college. It creates an equivalence between the IVEA and any other bodies representative of the interests of second level education. I do not doubt the Minister's goodwill in this area but at this critical juncture in the formation and creation of a teacher education college for teachers of these subjects we would be wise not to leave it entirely to the Minister's goodwill. We should try to write into this section a modest provision which will not only recognise the role the IVEA and the vocational sector in general have played in the past in this area but also its present role and future potential.
I sympathise with the views expressed by Deputy Horgan. We discussed the composition of Dublin NIHE and Limerick NIHE ad nauseam and we all agreed that any formula would not be acceptable to each one of us but we all recognised the difficulties of the Minister in ensuring that there is a balance. In the context of the NIHE Bills already discussed the formula in this legislation is not bad. In relation to paragraph (g) it is difficult to understand how the universities will come together to appoint a member to the governing body of Thomond College. It appears to be a monstrous system of appointing a member to represent the university sector. I suggest that it would be easier to ask UCC, with whom the college has had some connections, to appoint a member.
I do not think the Minister is going to ask anyone; I believe he is going to make the appointments.
I would not like it to be the Minister's intention to appoint a member. I hope the appointment comes independently from the university sector. The Minister should clarify that situation. Unfortunately, there is no way we can be sure that all the interests in the vocational sector are represented on the governing body. I appreciate the part AnCO has to play in this sector but it does not really have a part to play in relation to the training of teachers. It will only be in relation to the specialist courses to be provided by Thomond College that AnCO will be involved. I would like to see better representation of the teaching profession on the governing body. Deputy Horgan is anxious to give pride of place to the IVEA and I have no objection to that but the secondary school teachers might also wish to be represented on that body. I would not like to prefer one to the other. I do not think the Minister would like to be placed in the invidious position of having to choose a member from the TUI as opposed to a member from the ASTI or, indeed, an executive officer from the vocational sector. The Minister has struck a balance which may be criticised but not seriously.
There is a problem about the minutial of the amendment. If we are to insert a new paragraph (g) what will happen to paragraph (g) that is there already?
It is a new paragraph (f).
The paragraph (g) in the Bill is not the same as the amendment proposed. Other changes are envisaged. So far as I can make out there would be two paragraph (g's). Paragraph (g) would be paragraph (h), paragraph (h) would be paragraph (i), and paragraph (i) would be paragraph (j). Is that it? Paragraph (g) in the amendment is not in substitution for paragraph (g) in the Bill.
It is not.
That is what I thought because that would rule out what Deputy Collins was talking about. I appreciate very much the motivation behind Deputy Horgan's amendment. As he said, he was motivated by an appreciation of the work done by the IVEA. I too appreciate very much the voluntary work done by the dedicated members of vocational educational committees throughout the country, and in this field even before the 1930 Act. The fact that they are not specifically named in the Bill is not to be taken as a measure of my appreciation. If the Bill were excluding them, I would be only too eager to accept the amendment.
Deputy Horgan mentioned one possible reply I could make which was that I could make provision for them in section 5 (4) (i) which reads:
Three of those members shall be so appointed after consultation with such bodies representative of the interests of second level education as the Minister considers appropriate.
That is so. That is the place where the representative of the IVEA could be appointed by me. I want to call the attention of the House to section 5 (4) (a) which reads:
seven of those members shall be so appointed on the recommendation of the Minister in accordance with the provisions of subsection (5) of this section;
There too there is plenty of scope for recognition of the IVEA. Rather than putting it that way as a recognition of their services, I would prefer to put it in a vehicle for getting and using their expertise in this field. That was one of the considerations which led me to have section 5 (4) (a) composed as it is composed in the Bill. I can assure the House that, under either or both of those, it is my intention to appoint someone from the IVEA.
I should also like to put it on the record of the House that it is my policy and set intention to increase the number of teachers trained in these areas, particularly in the engineering, metal work, building and construction and woodwork areas, so that eventually all post-primary schools will be able to provide these courses which are becoming increasingly necessary. For that reason I do not think there is any need for Deputy Horgan's amendment. As I said already, I appreciate his motivation and the points he made. If I thought there were any danger that the IVEA could be excluded from representation, I would willingly accept the amendment. There is no such danger and consequently I do not see any need for the amendment.
There is one simple way to ensure that the IVEA will not be excluded and that is by writing them in. I would accept everything the Minister has said were it not for the fact that the IVEA are not written in and AnCO are. If neither the IVEA nor AnCO were written into the Bill and the Minister were to argue that in the exercise of his powers he would propose in the course of his nominations to nominate people from both those bodies, he would be on much stronger ground than he is at the moment. I fail to understand why he has written in AnCO and not the IVEA. Could he explain that?
I accept what the Deputy said in his original statement. If there were such a thing as a subsidiary in bodies working for the benefit of the common good, the IVEA would outrank AnCO in this field because they have been in the teaching section for so long. I would not like any question of subsidiarity or which had the premier place to raise its ugly head in an education Bill. One of the areas to which the Minister for Labour and I devoted considerable care and attention was this area so that there would not be an apparent clash of interest as between the IVEA and AnCO. We have been very successful in that regard. The House can be assured that the interests of the IVEA will be looked after within the terms of the Bill as now written and published.
I can see why the Minister would not like the question of subsidiarity or which organisation should take the premier place to arise in this or any other Bill. What he would like and what could happen are not necessarily the same. In view of the shortness of notice which I have given the Minister and his Department, and in order to allow reflection on this point, I am prepared to withdraw the amendment at this stage with the option of reintroducing it on Report Stage.
Is that amendment No. a.1. or both amendments?
On subsection (5) could I ask the Minister whether he would consider between now and Report Stage the possibility of including somewhere in the second last line of subsection (5) after the word "staff" the words "or management". This is a discussion we had on the NIHE Bill. The point was accepted by the Minister in relation to NIHE, Limerick. There was a curious omission in relation to NIHE, Dublin. Management was omitted. I would be interested to know whether the Minister would widen his net by introducing that kind of amendment on Report Stage.
The suggestion is?
In the second last line the subsection might read "the staff of the College or the staff or management of any college or body referred to in the said subsection (4) should be represented on the Governing Body". This was a practicality that was accepted by the Minister in relation to one subsection in the NIHE, Limerick, Bill. It was unaccountably omitted — and we on this side of the House bear some of the blame for it — from the NIHE, Dublin, Bill but perhaps that can be remedied in the Seanad. In this Bill we should increase the scope available to the Minister for appointment under this section.
I would prefer to get some notice of this. The idea would be that it would then read:
Before making any recommendation for appointment to the Governing Body of the College pursuant to subsection (4) (a) of this section, the Minister shall have regard to the extent to which industry, agriculture, fisheries, commerce, the professions, the staff of the College or the staff or management of any college or body referred to in subsection (4) should be represented on the Governing Body.
I gather that we did not accept that with regard to the National Institute for Higher Education in Limerick.
The simplest thing would be if I were to draft an amendment in those terms for Report Stage. I will not press the point now.
Why is there a need in subsection (5) to refer to the staff of the college when the staff is catered for in subsection (4) (b) and (c)?
When the appointments have been made it is a kind of safety net so that one can see whether any section has been omitted and it is there to give the power a balance.
I do not like the concept of the approval of the Minister. It should read: "The Governing Body shall, under such conditions as may be prescribed by the Minister" appoint a director. I would rather if the condition were set down prior to it going to advertising and it then being up to the Governing Body.
There is no undue interference by the Minister and the words are as mild as they could possibly be.
I am not making a personal reference to the Minister, I am thinking of some future Minister.
I move amendment No. 1.
In page 6, line 21, after "students" to insert "generally".
The House will remember that we discussed this already and I indicated that the draftsman wanted the safety of the adverb "generally" and I am moving this amendment for that reason.
Why is the word "generally" put in after "student"? It would be preferable to make it "general regulations" for the Governing Body.
It is a drafting amendment and the intention is that the academic council's function will be to make recommendations on the regulations to be generally applied.
It would be preferable to say that general recommendations would be made.
To put a fine point on it, the draftsman stood up firmly for the adverb, advocated it, defended it and persuaded me to put it in.
I am sure the draftsman is aware that he should not finish the sentence with an adverb.
Legal people, by definition, make their own laws.
I move amendment No. 2:
In page 6, line 42, to delete "Board" and substitute "Council".
As the House knows, the word "council" was substituted for the word "board" generally.
In fact "academic board" had long changed in the NIHE.
Could we have some indication of the Minister's thinking about what he would regard as "as soon as may be" after the end of each year. We need not be too apprehensive about this but we are giving freedom to the Governing Body to decide in their own terms when their annual report should be made available. Some educational institutions under an obligation to supply a report have been somewhat lax about their obligation. Is the Minister happy with the section as drafted?
I take the Deputy's point. Indeed, it is very frustrating at times and I am not pointing the finger specifically at academic institutions when boards that are required to report to the Government and have their report laid before the House are dilatory. I hope that "as soon as may be" will be before the next academic year begins. There is no need to spell it out but that is my thinking on the matter. It would be a good thing if it were generally understood that this report should be made before the beginning of the next academic year.
I hope the Minister's words will be writ in letters of gold on any charter of the college. Is it the Minister's intention that this should be a private report to him or that it should be available for example to Members of the Oireachtas? Is it the Minister's intention to publish such a report and lay it on the table of the House?
Yes, it should be available to the House.
I still feel that the Minister determines the levels of these, not the governing body.
This should be entitled "section catch 22".
It could also be called "section well debated before".
Referring to Article 2, for what period does the chairman of the governing body hold office? It may be specified earlier in the Bill. I am not sure.
Article 2. (4) states:
The chairman of the Governing Body shall cease to hold office on attaining the age of seventy years.
That is a terminus ad quem.
Yes, but you could appoint someone aged 35 and he might be there until he is aged 70 without the period having been specified on appointment.
Article 4. (1) states:
A member of the Governing Body (including the chairman but excluding an ordinary member who is a registered student of the College) shall hold office for a period not exceeding five years.
Not exceeding five years. What about reappointment?
From my reading of that it would be possible to reappoint him.
It would or would not?
It would be.
Article 4. (1) states quite clearly that a member of the governing body including the chairman shall hold office for a period not exceeding five years. It seems to indicate that you can hold office for only five years. I would prefer a situation where a member of the governing body would have at least the possibility of two runs on the governing body and the chairman should have a possibility of serving two terms. The phraseology in Article 4 (1) indicates that an ordinary member or a chairman can hold office for a period not exceeding five years. To me that is an unfortunate phrase.
We interpreted that in other Bills as indicating that a stop will be put to his gallop after five years but he can be reappointed and that that is up to the appointing and selecting body.
Would the Minister not think it advisable from a legal point of view to have some phrase such as "and shall be eligible for reappointment for a maximum of five years" rather than have it open to misinterpretation or interpretation in a court of law which might not be the same as our interpretation?
I have no amendment to that effect and I do not think that there is any need for it. It is quite clear that he must put himself up for office again after five years. He cannot continue longer than five years. That is all that Article 4.(1) says.
The opposite side of that coin is that he can be reappointed ad nauseam which also is not desirable. The person should have the possibility of serving two terms but perhaps no more, unless there was a break after the second term. The phraseology used in Article 4 provides for neither case. In other words, you can have an appointment ad nauseam which is undesirable and there is no specific limit on a period which a person can serve, which also is undesirable.
I accept that on occasion people holding office can go stale and a change is desirable but there is power to remove at the end of five years and there is an upper age limit as stated in Article 2.(4). I think there are sufficient safeguards in what is laid down here to preclude the possibility of somebody being left to ossify.
Will the Minister have a look at it for Report Stage? I think I have made a fair point.
Is the First Schedule agreed?
We have already discussed under the NIHE Bill the question of a person being nominated to the Upper House or elected to this House or appointed to the Parliament of the European Communities. I think the Minister agrees but he does not seem willing to do anything about it. What should be there is that a person who is a Member of this House, of Seanad Éireann or of the Parliament of the European Communities should be ineligible. However, I hold clearly and definitely that a person who is merely nominated to contest an election should not be debarred from holding a position as a member of the governing body. It would be extremely unfair to many individuals.
We should be encouraging individuals who hold such positions as membership of the governing body to stand for Dáil Éireann and Seanad Éireann. Here we are penalising them by ensuring that they can no longer, even if merely nominated for election, be members of the governing body. Surely that is undemocratic. It was not the design of anybody that a person nominated to stand for election in this country would suffer loss of office simply by virtue of being nominated. It is a different situation if one is elected, and if he is a Member of one of the Houses he should not be a member of the governing body. I will just about go along with that, although I do not see any merit in debarring people from continuing to be members of governing bodies of our academic institutions and colleges.
The Minister knows in his heart and soul that there is a good case for changing the attitude in relation to the holding of positions on governing bodies. This position is antediluvian in concept and the Minister knows that very well. In relation to this Bill I ask him — if he agrees with the change in relation to the NIHE Bill or the NCEA Bill — to change his mind and let us go forward even from now.
We had this discussion thoroughly on the other Bills. First of all, with regard to Article 6 (a) (i) there is a distinction there. A nomination to Seanad Éireann can come from the Taoiseach and the first part of Article 6 (a) (i) deals with the nomination by the Taoiseach, which means Members of the Seanad. I have to confess that when I was on the Deputy's side of the House I expressed sentiments much the same as he was expressing with regard to the Houses of the Oireachtas. At that time the direct elections to the European Parliament had not taken place. I have been, only just, convinced that Article 6 of the First Schedule is necessary and in the terms as expressed here the wisdom has more in it than I was prepared to admit when I was on the Deputy's side of the House. Therefore I propose to retain the wording of Article 6.
We always appreciate the wisdom that office brings.
Reference is made in Article 14 (b) to admissions and exclusions of students. Can I take it that the governing body have absolute power in relation to the exclusion of students or can they only act on the advice of the academic council? If the academic council advise that a person should be excluded can they do that with the word "generally" added? Can they on the other hand only make general provisions with the governing body making specific exclusions, or can the governing body act on their own?
The wording is quite clear. It means that the governing body are in full control and full charge, with statutory powers to exclude. I would hope that the kind of governing body we will have will get and take advice from the academic council and that they will use it with prudence and caution.
Section 2 of the schedule is a new provision for this kind of institution. It seems to me to be excellent but I do not recall having seen it in legislation on other such institutions.
I am informed we have it in relation to NIHE Dublin and Limerick.
I am not in favour of the director presiding at all meetings of the academic council who, in their wisdom, should appoint their own chairman. I am reiterating a point I made earlier.
We had a long discussion on this and we indicated that in large institutions where the president or provost of a university college is the chairman of various committees it is important that he physically should chair all the committees and sub-committes in relation to which he has power. The same should be true of an institute like Thomond College. The possibility of a committee going one way and the director going the other would not make for harmony or good administration in the college.