Higher Education Authority Bill, 1970: Committee Stage.


I move amendment No. 1:

In subsection (1), after "academic post" in line 12, to add "as, in the opinion of the Minister, his principal occupation".—

In the debate on the Second Stage of the Bill I repeated some of the arguments which had been made in the other House in regard to the definition of "academic post" in the Bill. The purpose of this amendment is to ask the Minister again to look at this problem and to change his mind.

In the Dáil the Minister was asked, by amendments put down by our side, to restrict the expression "academic post" in the interpretation section to a "full-time academic post". He declined to do this saying that there were part-time people engaged in academic teaching who might be valuable members of the Authority.

It was also said during that debate in the Dáil that it might be hard to see whether somebody was full-time engaged in an academic post or not. I have tried to give the Minister another opportunity to reconsider this point by putting down an amendment which will give the Minister the discretion to decide whether the holder of an academic post holds that post as his principal occupation. There are plenty of academics who do other things besides their principal job. At the same time, their principal occupation is easily identifiable. Our view is that the academic posts defined in section 1 for the purpose of designating the academic members of the Authority ought to be people whose main occupation is in the university. I see the difficulty about insisting that they should be "full-time academics" because there scarcely is such a thing as a full-time academic— somebody who does not, on the side, do some work or involve himself in some public activity of some kind which might place the full-time quality of this job in question. It would be a reasonable compromise if the Minister were to agree to define "academic post" by reference to the principal occupation of the person holding this post.

The Minister said, and it was said by all sides in the Dáil, that there were some disciplines, notably medicine and law, in which the part-time holding of posts was common. This is perfectly true. There are certainly posts held in medicine by men whose principal occupation is in hospitals and who because of their great experience and ability are recruited by the universities on a part-time basis in order to teach medical students.

Senator Jessop may be able to explain that system better than I can. The system has existed also in the law faculty but it is a system which is being dismantled very quickly. My feeling is that the time is not far off when there will be no such thing as a part-time teacher of law who comes from the Law Library or from his solicitor's office to teach this subject except in a very subordinate way as a tutor or something of the kind. But the time is not far off when the major jobs in the teaching of law will be occupied by people whose principal occupation it is to hold those jobs.

So far as the legal end of this argument is concerned, it seems to me there is not very much force in it. Even so far as the medical end of it is concerned, or possibly the engineering end or the architectural end, I cannot see the reason for the Minister's reluctance to accept an amendment of this kind or an amendment of the kind put down in the Dáil. If the Minister wishes to have people on the Authority who are only part-time connected with the university or other institution of higher education, whose principal occupation is something different but who come in for a couple of hours every week in order to do something connected with a university course, let him appoint those people to the Authority on the non-academic side. He has got plenty of discretion to do that.

He proposes to allow himself to constitute an Authority which are to contain a minority or may contain a minority of academic members, so he has potentially got 11 places to fill on the non-academic side and he could, if he wished, if there was some outstanding doctor or lawyer whose connection with an institution of higher education was only part-time, put him on the Authority via those places. It seems to me that is the right place for them. If we are to have academic members on this Authority my feeling is that they should be people whose main commitment and whose main occupation is in the university and that they will be seen by their colleagues to have that commitment and that occupation.

I am in no way trying to press this amendment simply as a means of recognising the special status of full-time university people as distinct from part-time university people. That is not what is in my mind at all. What is in my mind is that a part-time man is not to be regarded by the people who work in the institution with him as having the same knowledge or the same committment to the institution as they have. That will reduce the confidence which his colleagues have in him as a member of the Authority.

Naturally, it will depend to some extent on the man involved and I recognise that there are part-time people whose commitment is very intense. But I am not so certain that the Minister or the Government will be able to identify these people and I am afraid—I have said this several times before in the last couple of weeks—that the Minister, if he leaves this section unamended, will open the door not for himself or for his party but for some future Minister or for some future Government to stuff or pack the Authority with people who are not academics in anything but a trivial or a secondary sense. The point has been argued sufficiently in the Dáil and the Minister knows perfectly well what the issue is, and I hope he might see his way, now that the point has been rephrased in the terms of the amendment which I am proposing, to change his mind about it.

I should like to support this amendment. Phrased as it is now, it is one which should be more acceptable. I spoke on this on the Second Stage and I do not want to speak at length on it now except to echo a phrase which Senator Kelly used. He said that a person who was a part-time member or a person whose main occupation was not that of his academic post would not have the knowledge or the commitment. These are the two things in which a full-time person and a less than full-time person differ. There is and can be a gulf between the knowledge of academic affairs between the person who spends his whole day or nearly all of his day in an academic institution and a person who merely comes in in order to give certain lectures, or merely is concerned with a particular research project. There is a gulf here of knowledge and a person of this type—they might have many admirable qualities—could not be said to bring to the Higher Education Authority the full knowledge that this provision obviously seeks.

The whole point of saying that there must be a certain number of academic members is that this knowledge and experience may be brought in. The trouble is that people of this type may be completely well intentioned. They may not realise that their knowledge of their academic institution is a partial one and in such a way may be decidedly more dangerous than persons who had no academic connections at all. I think this is a worrying thing.

As regard the question of commitment—I am talking now of commitment to the academic life in general and not commitment to any particular institution or to any particular subject— I think if members are to be classed as academic members then the academic life should be their main commitment. As Senator Kelly has said, this does not mean that persons who have part-time connection or some connection with academic institutions are necessarily excluded from membership. It is certainly mislabelling them to include them among the academic members.

I can see the point in Senator Kelly's amendment and have sympathy with it. He referred to the difficulties that might arise in the case of medical members of academic institutions and I should like to mention that, because it is a very real difficulty. In the case of students taking a medical course in any medical school or any university, the university or medical school must make an arrangement with the hospitals so that the students can get practical experience in the work of the profession in which they hope to work later on. This is an absolute essential part of the course.

The doctors in the hospitals who give this teaching and experience are just as essential members of the faculty as the whole-time people who work in the laboratories in the medical schools. In the past, I think it would have been true to say that they did not have such direct commitment and direct relationship with the university and the medical school as they have now and will be having increasingly in the future. At present I think it is the tendency in all medical schools and in all universities that have medical schools to try to bring those people closer and closer into touch with the operation of the university to make sure they have the same standards, to make sure they have the same approach to the teaching of the students as in other department of medicine.

We involve them in our school committees and our faculty meetings and we find that they are just as closely interested in it and in our work as we who are full-time in the medical school. By reason of the fact that they have this extra experience outside and can look at the whole operation from the ultimate objective of producing a good doctor, I think they bring something to our debates that we could not possibly get on without.

There is a further point, I think, that increasingly, especially in consultant practice, this tends to be a hospital activity. The days are past nearly everywhere where you had important surgical operations done in private nursing homes. They have not got the facilities now and it is not in the interest of patients to have this work done in places where facilities are not available. So they are done in hospitals, and increasingly in teaching hospitals because of the facilities there. The activities in that regard are available for students to see. They are used in teaching so that, even when a surgeon or a physician has got private patients in hospital he has, at the same time, the opportunity of making that experience available to the students. This is a very valuable thing too because, presumably, they all hope to make their living later on, to some extent anyway, out of private practice.

I do not think that phase of professional activity which is essentially part-time in hospital should be regarded as out of context with the academic objectives or the academic interests of the Higher Education Authority. We think that the hospital activities of doctors practising there are in the same relation to the general work of the medical school as are the laboratory activities and research in the case of the scientifically based departments.

Reference was made once or twice by Senator Kelly and Senator Dooge to the question of coming in for a couple of hours each week to give lectures. This does not apply in the hospital section of medical teaching. Students go to the hospital and they spend, in the later years, all the day there. During that time they are with some physician or other. It may not be a large class, maybe only two or three or half a dozen, but they are still being taught by these doctors in the hospitals and a considerable amount of their time is spent in teaching.

This is not measured by the amount of money they get from the university for it. Very often they get only a few hundred pounds a year. If that were cut out you could not carry on the clinical section of the medical school. I think it would be wrong to exclude this kind of person entirely from participating in the work of the Higher Education Authority by being possible members of it. I can see the difficulty the Minister will be in in defining the words "principal occupation".

If you go to any of my consultant friends—or colleagues of Senator Kelly or Senator Dooge—who work in hospitals, some of them will argue that they should be paid just as much as the wholetime teacher in the universities because he spends just as high a percentage of his time with the students. They take part in research activities and in that way I think many of them would regard this as at least a very important part of their occupation. It might be very difficult to say that it was not the principal part.

I should like to support this amendment. Senator Kelly has given his reasons for it. I think both Senator Kelly and Senator Robinson can deal with the legal professional aspect of this amendment.

Senator Jessop has been very clear on the functions of the academics in the medical profession in relation to teaching in universities. He explained the amount of time that medical people and others like that now spend lecturing in the university. He showed the association they now have with the people in the university, especially in the clinical years of a student, when that student is in residence and still attending lectures in the university. The only objection that could be raised to Senator Kelly's amendment as regards the medical profession would arise only in the clinical years of the student, because in the pre-clinical years all the professors and lecturers would be wholetime in any case. The doubts would only arise in the mind of the Minister and his advisers in the clinical years of medicine when a surgeon would be operating for part of the day and lecturing in the university for one or two hours a day. Also in the clinical years he would be taking classes of students around the hospital to which he is attached and that is only continuing the association made in the lecture room in the university. It is a projection into the hospital of the same type of teaching and, in effect, it is not just spending a few hours in teaching, lecturing and association with students of the university. There is far more to it than a limitation of a few hours, as Senator Kelly said.

I think Senator Jessop could accept this amendment in view of what he has said about the time spent by the medical academics during the clinical years of the student. That does not just involve a few hours: it involves quite a long time. Senator Kelly, when he mentioned a few hours in his amendment was excluding them from his amendment. In other words, he included them as academics.

I want to refer here to the clinical years and the pre-clinical years because it is the clinical years that really raise the doubt. The amount of time spent by professors and lecturers in the various branches of clinical medicine is quite substantial. The objection to including them under the term "academic" in my view is not a valid one. They are academics.

What we should be seeking in this Bill is that the Authority to be selected from time to time, would be the best possible Authority available to us. It should be an Authority with the broadest experience available including, as stated in the Schedule, seven academic members. The description in section 1 seems to me to be adequate. It keeps the concept of the Authority reasonably broad. Although I understand the reasons for the amendment, it tends to narrow down the selection of members and may lead to all sorts of difficulties.

I appreciate Senator Kelly's concern about some future Government which may not have the honest approach of the present Government but I think we should be able to rely on the good sense and the understanding of a common purpose in relation to higher education of whichever Government we may have in the future. I have no doubts about the Government at the present time and I think we should have sufficient confidence in regard to future Governments. As the section here describes the Authority, it seems to be reasonably adequate. The Authority maintains its broad concept and the section does not tie down to too narrow a concept the range from which this Government or any Government of the future, may select the academic members of the Authority.

May I intervene again before the Minister replies? I want to give the Minister a chance to consider in the perspective which I should like him to use what has been said by the other speakers. Senator Belton has said almost everything I had in mind to say about Senator Jessop's intervention. The kind of man Senator Jessop described would, I think, be entitled to be described as a person whose principal occupation is an academic post. Anything like a Ministerial discretion, which is exercised every day, cannot be infallible and a Minister, or anybody else exercising an administrative discretion, is bound to find himself in a situation where he has to erect criteria for himself on his own best judgment and do his best in applying those criteria. No one would fault a Minister who, looking at a man such as that described by Senator Jessop, would say: "This man is spending most of his time and energy in an academic pursuit and I propose to regard him as somebody whose principal occupation is an academic post and to nominate him as an academic member of the Authority." Nobody would object to that kind of thinking.

The kind of person I have in mind and the kind of person I am afraid of, not from this Minister or this Government necessarily but perhaps from a Minister in 50 or 60 years time, is a man who may be a businessman and is given the job of teaching for a couple of hours a course in public administration or something of that kind. He is only brought in at the periphery of university life to teach a single subject but he has a very recognisable post, even though it may be a very minimal one. That person can be nominated under the Bill as it now stands as one of the seven academic members of the Authority. I amnot sa ying that such a person should not be on an Authority or that—and this is where I should like to reply to Senator Brugha—there is no place for such a person on An tÚdarás um Ard Oideachais. What I am saying is that if such a person is needed he can be very comfortably accommodated among the 11 non-academic members.

I took Senator Brugha down as saying that my amendment tended to narrow down the selection of members open to the Minister. It does so only very marginally because the Minister has an absolute discretion so far as the other 11 members are concerned. He could nominate a crowd of Eskimos as the other 11 members, if he so wished. He need not have any regard whatever to their connections with institutions of higher education. I am fighting to defend a small section of the Authority —less than half of it—from encroachment by people whose main commitment or occupation is not within the institutions of higher education which this Bill is intended to help.

I am not saying that people who have other kinds of vocations should not have a place on such an Authority. However, there is plenty of room for such people as the Bill now stands. The kind of person mentioned by Senator Jessop could reasonably be regarded as a full-time academic. There are such people in both colleges in Dublin and probably in the colleges in Cork and Galway as well. I think an arrangement has been agreed on—I am speaking now of something of which I have not got first-hand knowledge— whereby medical professors are allowed to spend two-elevenths of their time in private practice. It is a curious fraction but it is based on the 5½ day week and two-elevenths of that would entitle them to spend one full day per week in private practice. A man of that kind may make more money in his one day's private practice or private consultation than he would make on the other 4½ days as a professor.

I should not at all mind such a person being designated as a person whose principal occupation is an academic post. To that extent Senator Jessop's intervention, although well intentioned, somewhat missed what I was trying to get across to the Minister. The Minister has plenty of room at present for nominating any other members he thinks fit to the other 11 places. This section of the Authority—which is less than half of the Authority—ought to consist of hard-core academics. I do not think it is too much to ask the Minister to look at this matter again to see if he could make this concession to what will be the general academic feeling in all institutions of higher education.

I find myself in sympathy with this amendment especially when as explained by Senator Kelly, it is understood that it would not exclude persons who are carrying out other activities as well provided they are spending the larger proportion of their time in a university. I support Senator Kelly particularly when he says that the seven academic posts should be filled by what he called hard-core academics. Looking at the present composition of the ad hoc Higher Education Authority, it may not be for the best that the Authority consists largely of administrative officers of colleges who also hold academic posts. There is a great deal to be said for the seven academic posts being genuine academic posts rather than being administrative officers.

Under the present composition of the Higher Education Authority, I understand the Registrars of Trinity College and UCD and administrative officers from the other two colleges are represented. I should like some assurance from the Minister that administrative officers would not hold any of the seven academic posts. They might be appointed by the Minister to the other 11 positions or preferably they might be left in the colleges. If the registrar of a college is to become a member of the Higher Education Authority, it might result in a conflict of interests especially if all the registrars of the different colleges were members of the Higher Education Authority. For this reason, the meaning of academic member ought to be somebody who is very much identified with the institution, and who is an academic member of the institution, rather than an administrative officer of it. I support this amendment.

We had quite a long debate in the Dáil on this particular matter, and I have not changed my mind in relation to it. If I may repeat the section as it stands: it gives eligibility for academic membership to a person who holds, in an institution of higher education, a post which involves the occupant, either full-time or part-time, in teaching or research. The chief officers or Chancellor of the universities are excluded from eligibility.

My principal objection. and I raise it here again—is much the same as it was in the Dáil. That is that the amendment would restrict the eligibility and would mean the exclusion of eminent academics, for example, in the law and medical faculties, in which a high proportion of the professors and lecturers teach part-time. I also wish to point out that it would exclude administrative officers, for example, registrars. I do not think that anybody would regard these as being non-academic, even if it could be said that their teaching or research activities might not constitute the greater part of their duties.

I do not think that An tÚdarás would be a better body if such persons were made ineligible for academic membership. I am particularly anxious that the provisions of this Bill would be such as to allow the best possible personnel to be available for membership. The Minister should have as wide a choice as possible. In the course of his speech, Senator Kelly referred to the appointment of such people, whom he referred to as being non-academic in the eyes of academics. I could point out to him, in the opposite way, that it would be very difficult to have other people in the non-academic field, except that these particular people whom I wish to include could be regarded as non-academic. In other words, if I were to appoint what would be termed seven full-time academics to An tÚdarás, and if I were also to appoint some of the people who teach part-time in, say, the law and medical faculties, that they certainly would not be regarded by the public generally as being non-academic. It would appear to the public generally that I was overloading An tÚdarás with academics.

Senator Kelly's amendment is designed to ensure that no person could be appointed to An tÚdarás as an academic member unless he held an academic post: to quote his own words: "as, in the opinion of the Minister, his principal occupation". It would hardly be good law to give statutory authority to the opinion of the Minister.

There are precedents.

The Offences Against the State Act is a good precedent.

Maybe so, but I am not putting this forward as my main argument. If the Bill were to be amended in this fashion, it would be the opinion of the Minister that would be the deciding factor in this respect. No matter how strongly anyone might disagree with the Minister's opinion, so long as the Minister held that particular opinion, it could not be changed legally. For these reasons, particularly for the reason that there should be as wide a choice as possible to the Minister to appoint members of this board, I cannot accept the amendment. I know that Senator Kelly may say to me that I would have the choice in this respect, but basically I doubt if I would. There might be very considerable and long arguments after I had made my choice, if this individual were or were not principally involved in work of an academic nature. Therefore, I cannot accept the amendment. As I have said here and in the Dáil, I should hope to have the widest possible choice available to me in relation to the appointments to an tÚdarás.

I do not want to hold up the House over this. First of all, I should like the Minister to rid his mind of the idea that part-time law teachers constitute an argument of any kind. There was a time when there were only part-time law teachers in the country. In University College, Dublin, now there are several full-time professors and lecturers in the law faculty, and only one part-time one. The days the Minister is thinking of, or that his advisers have instructed him about, are long since gone. An analogous situation applies in Trinity College, as far as I know. It will get more and more like that, so the Minister should not use the argument that law can be used in this context: it cannot.

I see the force of the Minister's objection that if he were to appoint, as non-academic members, people who had some marginal connection with an institution of higher education, that might be thought by the public to be bringing in academic members by the back-door. However, the Minister ought to weigh the possibilities, one against the other. Given the context in which this Bill will be operating, it would be much more of a danger that the Authority will lose the confidence of the people who have to do the work in these institutions. These will be working every day and every hour, within a framework which the Authority have in some sense dictated—not perhaps in every detail but in its overall lines—by their financial provisions or otherwise. These people are the ones who will have constantly in their minds the question of their confidence in this Authority. The public are not in the same situation. The number of times when the public really get excited about higher education is small. Public interest of higher education is scarcely ever noticeable unless something of political importance happens, such as the restriction of entry into a particular faculty. I share the Minister's views that this Authority ought to enjoy public confidence, but the possibility of lack of confidence on the part of university staffs, if the seven academic members are only shadow academics, is far greater, and will be far more damaging, than the possibility that the public will be upset if they see that some of the non-academic members have got marginal connections with the universities.

The last point I want to make, in rebutting what the Minister has said, concerns his own opinion. The Minister ought to know that there are uncountable instances in our statute law in which a particular administrative function is confided to a Minister or to some other administrative authority, and in which that authority is permitted to exercise his own discretion in the matter. The most famous example is that in the Offences against the State Act, in which if the Minister forms the view that somebody's continued liberty is a danger to the State, he can, if that part of the Act is brought into force, have him locked up. There is no way out of this: it happens in every country in the world. You must leave some things to ministerial discretion, and I should not be a bit upset at the idea that the Minister would have discretion here.

Finally, I do not want to be categorical about this because nothing in law is absolutely certain, but I believe the Minister is wrong when he says that his opinion would not be legally reviewable. It would be legally reviewable if recent decisions in the High Court are valid. There have been recent decisions to the effect that an opinion which statute requires an administrative authority to form must be reasonably formed; in other words, the court will not set themselves in the position of the Minister and substitute their view for his. They will examine the way in which he has exercised his discretion and ask themselves if he has exercised that discretion reasonably or not. I do not foresee that the Minister will have any trouble if he goes some part of the way to meet us on this in regard to the exercise of his discretion.

The Minister seems to be under a misapprehension, first, in regard to the role played by part-time law teachers and, secondly, in regard to the question of his own discretion. Finally, I do not think he is allowing enough room for the possibility that to produce seven shadow academics will cause more trouble, more danger and more damage in the end than to have marginal academics among the non-academic members.

I should like to clear up a point which I tried to make and which I do not think Senator Kelly got quite correctly. I understand that the people appointed by universities as professors in clinical subjects in medical schools who are allowed to do two-elevenths of their time in private practice are in fact wholetime professors and are regarded as such by the university. There is no question about their being academics or not. They are academics. We spell it out in a slightly different way from the way in which Professor Kelly has mentioned but it amounts to the same thing—they are wholetime academics.

I was talking of people who have not got any such appointments. They are called lecturers in medicine, lecturers in surgery or lecturers in some special branch of medicine or surgery. They are paid honoraria to the extent of £300 or £400 a year. They are the people whose primary work is service work in hospitals on patients. That is where they get most of their income from, through the operation of the Health Acts and the Voluntary Health Insurance Board and so on. These are people on whom the university and the medical school depend for about 65 per cent to 75 per cent of the teaching of the clinical subjects to their students. The professors and the heads of the departments organise as well as they can, but the people who do it are the people in the category that I have mentioned. I should think the Minister would be in some difficulty if he should have to describe them as having their principle occupation, in the eyes of the wholetime members of the university, as academic.

We have them in our faculty. We regard them as colleagues on an equal basis as ourselves. I understand that in University College, Dublin, they are not members of the faculty. The part-time people in the hospitals do not come to faculty meetings. Can the Minister appoint as an academic member a person whose principle occupation is an academic, a person who is not invited to faculty meetings in his university? If this is the case I think he would be in a difficulty there. This applies only to some institutions, not to all of them.

Regarding the administrators, a distinction should be drawn between an administrator who does some teaching and an academic who does some administration. We have, by tradition, in Trinity College the administrative jobs done by academics. They were appointed as academics in the first place, their whole career is academic and then in time they took on some administrative responsibilities. We have recently appointed wholetime administrators who do a great deal of the administration formerly done by these academics. These academics hold titles which appear to give them administrative work and possibly administrative standing. I do not think that this has changed their academic character. I cannot think of anybody trying to describe our registrar as not being an academic, or the registrar in University College, Dublin, for that matter. The same applies to our bursar, who has had most of his duties taken over by the treasurer. He is a professor of economics, he is an academic and he is an administrator. I do not think that distinction should be drawn in that particular kind of case.

If I may say so, I think that the Minister and Senator Robinson have been speaking a little bit at cross purposes on the matter to which Senator Jessop has just referred. The Minister is rightly concerned to keep for himself a reasonable liberty in deciding whom, within the university spectrum generally, he should appoint to An tÚdarás.

I think Senator Robinson has been saying, when she referred to the role and the situation of officers other than the chief officers in universities, that she is concerned to prevent the possibility arising whereby An tÚdarás might become a cabal, a sort of bargaining shop, where there would be a greater tendency for people to act not as representatives of the sector from which they come but actually as representatives of the institutions from which they come.

In his speeches in the other House the Minister has made considerable play of the fact that members of An tÚdarás should not be regarded and should not regard themselves as representatives of individual institutions. Senator Robinson was drawing attention to the increased likelihood of them so regarding themselves if they happen to be office holders in these institutions. I think the kind of commitment Senator Robinson was looking for—indeed it is a commitment with which I would be happy—was for the Minister to at least indicate that he was aware of this danger.

There is a phrase in the section which refers to the duties of the holder of an academic post to teach any students of the institution. To what extent can duties be said to be duties if they are not carried out? One may have a duty to teach in an institution, but the burden of one's administrative responsibilities may, in a given case, be such as to make it physically impossible to carry it out, beyond perhaps giving one statutory lecture a year.

There is an additional difficulty in that obviously registrars and administrative people, generally speaking, in university colleges and other institutions of higher education are perhaps in a better position than some academic members to know exactly what are the consequences of different courses of action. No doubt this is what the Minister has in mind when he wants to safeguard his authority to appoint such people to An tÚdarás as academic members. We would be glad of a reiteration by the Minister of his earlier stand that, whatever position these people hold, they should not regard themselves as primarily representatives of the institutions from which they come.

This debate seems to be concerning itself in regard to two points: one, the question of clinical teachers; the other, the question of administrators. While Senator Kelly is satisfied that the clinical teachers which have been described by Senator Jessop would be covered by his amendment, Senator Jessop has in his second intervention expressed doubts about this. I wonder if the worries Senator Jessop has in this regard might not be met if this section were amended in some way to indicate that the persons whom we are talking about would be persons, all or part of whose duties would include the teaching of students, including clinical teaching: I think that would go a great deal of the way towards meeting Senator Jessop's difficulty. I should be glad to know if Senator Jessop and the Minister might modify their attitudes if such a change were made to section 1.

In regard to the question of administrators, we have only one thing to guide us in regard to what might be the tendencies in appointing the members of an tÚdarás and that is the appointments that were made to the ad hoc Higher Education Authority. When we look at the nominations to that we see that, in the setting up of that body, the registrars of the colleges were virtually given ex officio membership of the Higher Education Authority. The registrar of Trinity College, Dublin, the registrar of University College, Dublin the registrar of University College, Cork, were all appointed. The registrar of University College, Galway, was not appointed to the ad hoc Higher Education Authority, but this does not deny the principle that they would appear to have been given ex officio membership because at the time the particular person who had been registrar for many years in University College, Galway, either had retired or was on the point of doing so.

Maynooth College was represented by its chief officer or president, something which would not be possible under this Bill. In the case of the representation of the higher levels of vocational education, the representation was by the principal of one of the very large colleges of technology. In the only instance we have of the type of appointment with which we are dealing under section 1 of this Bill, we have a distinct tendency to treat these administrative officers as being the appropriate persons to represent the academic community. It is for these reasons that we express concern on this point.

I want again to say my main objective is to ensure that I have the widest possible choice. It would be most unusual to appoint people who are not regarded by their colleagues as full-time academics. In regard to what Senator Horgan says in relation to the registrars of the colleges, I wish to point out again that this is not a representative body. The registrars who have taken part in the work of An tÚdarás have shown that they have acted, and are, acting independently. It is not true to say that the registrars have been appointed ex officio. They have been appointed because they were regarded as being the most suitable people for the positions.

Senator Kelly on the Second Reading of this Bill said that a Minister might contrive to have some flimsy academic post created in an institution of higher education in order that the occupant could be appointed as an academic member of An tÚdarás. I said at that time that such a suggestion was very far-fetched. It would mean, first of all, that the Minister would have to get the institution concerned to create the post. Then he would have to arrange with the governing body or whatever appropriate authority of the institution would make the appointments to have the person he had in mind appointed.

Professor Kelly made another point which more or less strengthens the arguments I have put forward. He said that the opinion of the Minister could be challenged in court. This is so and I could visualise a situation where I would put forward as academic members people whom I considered to be academics and I would, perhaps, be constantly open to be charged in the courts as to whether most of their time was spent in teaching. Having considered all the arguments put forward by the various Senators I still feel strongly that the manner in which an academic member is interpreted in the Bill is the best.

I am sorry to hold up the House and I do not wish to push this matter beyond the end of the patience of Members of the House. The Minister is not understanding what I said about his opinion. The whole question of a ministerial discretion is something which is, first of all, very commonly exercised but not very often challenged. There is no question that people who disagree with the Minister's view as to who was a full-time academic would go rushing off to the court to have the Minister's discretion set aside. Provided he exercises that discretion reasonably, he is all right. If he applies reasonable criteria, not unreasonable ones, not malicious ones, he is all right, even though he may be mistaken. That is the point I wished to make and my point, instead of strengthening the Minister's argument, considerably weakens it.

The last point I wish to make in pressing this amendment—and I am sorry it has met with so little sympathy from the Minister—is this: we are legislating here not just for 1971 or 1972 but for a long time in the future. The National University of Ireland has existed under the Irish Universities Act, 1908—in other words, for the last 63 years—without any amendment to speak of. It has serious defects in it which I suppose might have been foreseen at the time, and it has resulted in structures in the National University of Ireland which do not correspond with the needs of today. That is one of the reasons why this Authority are being set up. It is no use going back to a debate in the British House of Commons in 1908 and saying "We got an assurance from the then Minister for this or that that it was proposed that so and so would happen." This is no good and it is no good for the Minister to tell this House today that his intentions are good.

I accept that unreservedly and I accept that the Minister does not intend to pack the Authority with bogus academics but I do not know anything about his successor or who his successor will be. I am pressing to strengthen this Bill so that it cannot be abused. This is something I have had to do in this House during recent weeks and I have met with almost no sympathy from the Government side. We are legislating not just to allow a Minister to put his own good intentions into effect. We are creating law which will be there as solid as the day it was enacted 20, 30, 40 or perhaps 100 years from now, when all of us will have gone and the next generation will have gone. There will be people running the Higher Education Authority, if there is such a thing in 100 years from now, who will not necessarily have the Minister's good intentions.

I am trying to provide this Bill with a protection against the kind of abuse I have outlined. I am not for one moment suggesting that the Minister would induce an institution of higher education to nominate some hack of his own to a peripheral post in order that he might be put on this Authority. I am prepared to assume in the Minister's favour. I know nothing of him that would lead me to believe he would do such a thing; but why should I make an assumption about some Minister who will be here 20 years from now of whom I have never heard, or why should the House make such an assumption?

This House and the other House should legislate to make sure that anything that passes through this House as a Bill will be as cast iron as we can make it and as fully protected against abuse as we can make it. This is one respect, in my submission, in which this Bill will fail in its job. I am disappointed that the Minister should be advised to resist an amendment in the terms in which it has been put forward on our side in this House and in the Dáil because that would have protected this Authority from being completely rid of academic members. We cannot have an Authority of that kind and if the Minister thinks that there should be such a thing let him say so. I do not think he does think it. This Bill will not prevent it happening. I assert that positively and categorically. This Bill as it stands, unamended, if the Minister and his advisers will not accept something along the lines of the amendment that I am pressing, will make it possible in the future for some ill-intentioned Minister or Government to stuff and pack this Authority with a crowd of hacks who know and care nothing about institutions of higher education.

Let us speak clearly about it. I am not saying that the Fianna Fáil Government want to do it, I am not saying that at all. But we cannot foresee the kind of Government that we will have in 20 or 30 years' time, any more than the Liberal dominated parliament in England in 1908, which passed the Irish Universities Act, could foresee that an Irish Republic in 1971 would still be struggling along under the same Act. We cannot foresee it, and let us make sure that any abuses that we can foresee, which this Bill makes possible, are headed off and prevented in time.

I do not think there is anything more I can say. I could not possibly visualise any Government or any Minister for Education packing an tÚdarás with people who would not be suitable persons to help in the development of higher education. It would completely defeat the objective and I do not even see what objective any Government might have in doing this. I would also add that, even if you had an ill-intentioned Minister or Government, adding "as in the opinion of the Minister" would not be much of a safeguard because he would ensure that whatever arguments were put up against a particular appointment he would say "In my opinion this is the position and I am appointing this particular individual."

I could not foresee a situation where any Minister for Education would attempt to do something which would be to the detriment of the development of higher education. I think, as I said in the Dáil, that the manner in which an academic member is interpreted here is the best possible way in which it can be done.

Amendment put and declared lost.

I move amendment No. 2:

In subsection (1), line 16, before "of" to insert "including postgraduate students."

I have suggested this amendment for the purpose of ensuring that the question of post-graduate education is quite clearly included within the scope of An t-Údarás. Post-graduate education has become in the last few decades of increasingly great importance both in the academic areas and in the professional areas of all institutions of higher education. There are, of course, many institutions, including the universities, which have undergraduate and post-graduate activities. There are some institutions in which there are no undergraduate activities at all, only post-graduate. These institutions are largely in the professional areas and there are, of course, a number of them in the area of medicine. They are usually concerned with post-graduate education and training in certain sections of these professional activities. They grant post-graduate degrees and diplomas and these degrees are very important in relation to the appointments in hospitals and other areas of professional work. People who do not hold these diplomas will probably find it very difficult to get such appointments.

In the work for these diplomas there is usually a period of perhaps four or five years involved. In the earlier part of that it is quite usual for some of the course to be taken by basic departments in universities. In this regard, therefore, these institutions of post-graduate training and education overlap to some extent with the undergraduate institutions, even where they have no actual undergraduate students themselves. I think, therefore, that unless this is specifically taken into account we run a danger of regarding these institutions for professional training and post-graduate education as being involved in some way or another only with the professional aspects of the practice of, say, medicine or engineering and not being directly enough related to education in that sense to be within the scope of An tÚdarás. I think this would be very unfortunate. I believe that it would be very logical to include a reference to them in this section to make sure that when An tÚdarás were considering the whole area of higher education these bodies concerned primarily with the post-graduate section should be taken into account.

On the Second Reading of this Bill Senator West mentioned the Royal Irish Academy as a body which should be included in the operation of An tÚdarás. I would, of course, approve of that, but as an argument in favour of it he put forward the view that they represent the whole of Ireland; they draw their membership from all over the 32 counties. This is certainly true also of medicine, of the institutions of higher education and training. The College of Physicians and the College of Surgeons in Dublin draw their fellow roll from all over Ireland. I think this should be mentioned in that regard. I would suggest to the Minister that this Bill would be improved if the reference to the post-graduate section of higher education was incorporated in it.

I certainly agree with the intention behind what Senator Jessop has said. When we are looking ahead the object of higher education should be to include every aspect of post-graduate education possible. I presume that what Senator Jessop is seeking would be a matter which the Authority would have full power to deal with.

I simply want to say that I am very well aware of Senator Jessop's interest in research and I can assure him that the teaching of students includes the teaching of post-graduate students. For that reason I do not see that the amendment is necessary. As I say the expression "student" in the section must obviously refer to all students, including post-graduate students.

We can discuss it afterwards, but I would be concerned about the scope of post-graduate students as used by the Minister there.

I would presume that what Senator Jessop is seeking would be within the scope of section 5, from which I conclude that An tÚdarás would be able to advise the Minister in relation to any existing institution of higher education and that this would entitle An tÚdarás to include any institution including those engaged in the teaching of post-graduates.

I should like to refer to what Senator Jessop has said. We want to be quite clear on this post-graduate problem, because one of the trends in university education, as the Minister knows, is the increase in the ratio of the post-graduate student to undergraduates. This will increase considerably. As Senator Brugha has pointed out, we may need to look at this again under section 5 of the Bill because there are likely to be further institutions or bodies of higher education which teach post-graduate students only and we want to be quite clear that these bodies come under the scope of this Bill.

Also, I should like to refer to another point raised by Senator Jessop regarding the position of the Royal Irish Academy because this body plays a very important role in post-graduate education. Again it needs to be looked at under section 5, but it comes up here since we are talking about post-graduate education. The Academy is worthy of the fullest support and every co-operation from An tÚdarás because, as has been said, it is a body which embraces the whole country and indeed universities and other similar bodies in the North of Ireland. It might be worth pointing out that the Academy has got a great deal of support.

I am connected with one subcommittee of the Academy which runs mathematical symposia summer schools, and these are at high research level. We already had a very successful one in Dublin two years ago which achieved considerable international recognition, was supported by universities north and south and did a great deal of good for mathematics in this country. Starting next Monday there is a similar summer school run by the Academy at University College, Cork, and it looks as if it is going to be just as successful as its predecessor two years ago.

I just refer to some of the things which the Academy does in my particular field, but it is very important that we should keep firmly in our minds the work done by the Academy, especially at the higher level. The Academy works mainly for the post-graduate area of education, but it has national committees on various subjects: committees on mathematics, committees on physics, committees on zoology, and so on. These are bodies which discuss on a national level the contents of courses in universities and the relationships between the university courses and school courses. I know they have received a good deal of recognition from the Department. We need to keep the work of the Academy firmly in our mind when we are talking about post-graduate education.

I would like to draw Senator Jessop's attention to his reference to institutions which are in existence for hundreds of years. Section 5, line 8 or 9 states: "in relation to any existing institution of higher education". I have been studying this and it seems to me that this would include all those institutions to which both Senator Jessop and Senator West are referring— that An tÚdarás, in discussion with the Minister, would be able to include any one or all of these.

I should like to ask Senator Jessop a question. I certainly have great sympathy with the general line of his argument and I appreciate the points he is making about the scope of An tÚdarás. Obviously our views on this to some extent hinge on what the Minister has to say about the interpretation of the meaning of "student" in this Bill. The question has already been raised by Senator Dooge. I have been quickly trying to trace through this Bill, without much success, where this term "academic post" occurs. As I see it, the effect of Senator Jessop's amendment—treating it in technical terms as an amendment apart from the general point he wished to make about An tÚdarás—is related to wherever the term "academic post" may occur in the Bill. It would seem to me that this means that his amendment solely relates to this point "academic post." In fact it is an amendment which would not achieve what I understood to be his general point about the role of An tÚdarás regarding research institutions and staff who might be solely concerned with the teaching of post-graduate students. It would be helpful to me certainly, and perhaps to the House in general, if he could relate the amendment in this specific way to any point at which this term "academic post" may occur in the Bill.

The term occurs in the previous line—

"academic member" means a member of An tÚdarás who, at the time of his appointment as such member, held an academic post;

Then we define the "academic post". The point of the definition of "academic member" comes in the Schedule when we consider the number of such members that can be appointed to An tÚdarás. The aim is to ensure that people who are concerned with teaching in institutions of post-graduate education are included in this connection.

As I have already said, I accept Senator Jessop's interest in research and I mentioned that graduate students were included. In referring to the definition of posts in institutes of higher education and to teaching in such institutions, there could be no question of post-graduate students not being included for the purposes of this definition.

Does that mean that "institution" can be accepted as within the scope of an tÚdarás if they have only post-graduate students and no undergraduates?

If in the minds of Deputies or Senators there may be doubt about certain things, and if it does not affect the Minister's intention at any stage, is it not the easier and simpler thing and a saving of time for the Minister to accept amendments such as these? He may think they are superfluous, and technically they may be so, but they still do not detract from the type of legislation with which we are dealing. It is still good legislation. If there is any doubt at all, surely it would save time if the Minister were to accept the amendments?

An "institution of higher education" is defined later on here. We are not defining it in this particular section. Universities are defined as institutions of higher education. I do not think I should follow the particular line that Senator Belton takes. If I feel that there is reason or need for an amendment, then I shall accept it, but if I do not see that there is any reason for accepting an amendment I do not see why I should. As I have already stated, I assure Senator Jessop that the teaching of students includes the teaching of post-graduates.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 3:

In subsection (1) between lines 17 and 18, to insert "‘Student member' means a member of An tÚdarás who, at the time of his appointment as such member and for the full duration of his appointment, is pursuing a full-time course of studies leading to a university degree of diploma or to a qualification of equivalent standard."

The Minister might consider taking amendments Nos. 20 and 23 with this amendment as they are related. The amendment I am proposing is to include student members in an tÚdarás. Amendment No. 20, which is an amendment to the Schedule, reads:

after "academic members" to insert "at least shall be student members".

Amendment No. 23 is put in because of the fact that students normally would not spend a long time in the university and provides that

A student member of An tÚdarás shall be appointed for a term of two years, and the appointment shall not be renewable.

Logically these three amendments should be taken together. The question of student representation was discussed at great length in the Dáil in the light of amendments put down there. It is something which has been pressed by the student groups, particularly the USI and also by University College, Galway. In the debate on it the Minister seemed to raise two main objections to including student members on the body itself: first of all, that the Higher Education Authority are not a representative body, and, secondly, that students lack experience and that they would not have a contribution to make.

In putting forward this amendment I should like to take these two arguments and try to persuade the Minister that they do not, in fact, render students either superfluous or ineligible for the body. First of all, to take the argument that the Higher Education Authority are not a representative body: this argument applies to the seven academic members who are appointed on it. They would not be representative of their institutions. The Minister has already made this clear. Nor would the two student members be representative of any particular student body or any particular student group. They would have the same relationship to the Higher Education Authority as academic members. They would represent a class, but not a particular group; they would speak for the general body of students only in their capacity as individual students.

The Minister said in the Dáil—and he took credit for this—that he was the Minister who introduced students to the governing bodies of colleges of universities. He is to be commended for this; it was a proper action to take. I should like him to go further in a logical way in this and appoint two student members to the Higher Education Authority. If one argues that students are inexperienced, they are as inexperienced on the governing bodies of the colleges as they would be on the Higher Education Authority. I propose to show in what way they could contribute valuable experience to the express functions of the Authority as set out.

In a body of between 14 and 18 members to have two student members would not give them an imbalance. The reason that we have settled for two rather than the six proposed by the USI, or three which has been proposed from another source, is that it is necessary to begin with two student members—not one student member who would perhaps be overawed and would not have the confidence to speak as a member of such an Authority. The representation of two students, preferably two students from different institutions, of course, would give a very important access to the thinking that was going on in the student world. They would not be in a representative capacity, but in the capacity of having the experience of belonging to these institutions. The Minister said—and I take some hope from this that he will accept this amendment—on Committee Stage in the Dáil:

As I said, I am concerned with ensuring that where students are appointed they will be able to show that they have an effective role on the body to which they are appointed. As consumers they are entitled to be on the governing bodies of the universities and, in fact, when the omnibus legislation in relation to universities comes before the House, I propose to concern myself with this particular aspect. In spite of what Deputy FitzGerald says, I have not the slightest doubt that in practice, whatever we may say about the theory of it, the student members would have to report back to their respective bodies and in that sense they would be representative.

As I said on the Second Stage, students are not ineligible for membership and it may be that at some future date they may become members. I have given this matter very weighty consideration and I think that the conclusions to which I have come, weighing everything in the balance, are the right ones.

The statement of the Minister gives me some hope; he has not said that students are ineligible. However, his, words sound patronising. He said in effect: "Students are not ineligible but I will not give them status from the beginning on this board and I will not allow them a definition of a ‘student member' and a guarantee that two members of the Higher Education Authority will be students". Taking the challenge that the Minister has presented, that if students can perform a useful function they will be appointed, would it not be fairer to look at the functions of the Higher Education Authority in this respect and see whether students might have a valuable contribution to make.

Looking at section 3 of the Bill we see that the first function is: "promoting the democratisation of the structure of higher education". This surely is a matter on which students would have a valuable contribution to make. It is a matter of extreme concern to them and a matter on which they have already played a valuable role. How can you promote the democratisation of higher education if you do not give status to student members on an Authority such as the Higher Education Authority? How can it have a balanced outlook on democratisation of the universities if it does not have student members on it? Those student members would not be representative of any particular group but would be representative of themselves as students and consumers of the Authority.

The second function of the Authority is "furthering the development of higher education". The Minister will appreciate that students have a great interest in furthering the development of higher education. They have at least as great an interest in it as other members of the academic world and as the outsider whom the Minister may place on the Authority.

The third function of the Authority is "assisting in the co-ordination of State investment in higher education and preparing proposals for such investment". In this respect I would submit that students might well have far less experience of and a far lesser degree of balance in their approach to this, but they would have in mind the importance of not allowing the fees of the universities to increase to such an extent that they would become the privilege of the few. Students would concern themselves with the way in which money for higher education was being distributed. Whatever their inexperience they would have a contribution to make in this area.

Section 3(c) states: “promoting an appreciation of the value of higher education and research”. This is an area in which students would have a very constructive contribution to make. You promote an appreciation of the value of higher education in the younger generation. It is they who must appreciate it amongst themselves and it is they who can best say whether the message of higher education is getting through. It is they who will have the vital ideas as to how our universities should develop. It is they who will promote the idea, which must surely be part of the development of a university, that it is a learning together. It is not a dichotomy between the teachers and those to be taught but a learning together by those in the institute of higher education.

Finally, the students have already demonstrated their concern and their attitude towards section 3(d) which is “promoting the attainment of equality of opportunity in higher education”. Students have already voiced their concern in this regard and it is a matter which our younger people appreciate. They are the people who have most recently come to higher education and they are concerned that others will have the same opportunities open to them. This is also an area where students will have a contribution to make.

I would ask the Minister to reconsider the possibility not just at some future time of appointing one or two students in an official capacity but of giving students a defined status on the Authority from the beginning. If this were done it would give the Authority much greater support in the field of higher education and it would be in line with the Minister's attitude towards colleges and institutions of higher education where he has already appointed students to the boards of these colleges.

I would like to lend my support to this amendment and I shall state, very briefly, my reasons for doing so. The first point relates to the question of representation. I have already spoken about it on the first amendment which is under the name of Senator John Kelly. We have heard the Minister's point of view very forcibly expressed that "Members of An tÚdarás should not be directly representative of anything outside An tÚdarás." Basically, I am very strongly in favour of this position but it is true to say, philosophically speaking, that the principle of representativity has already been introduced into the Bill by the definition of an academic member. This is not a representativity of institutions; it is a representativity of sectors.

In the first section of the Bill the Minister has explicitly identified the community of teachers in institutions of higher education as a community which has a right, specifically as a community of teachers, to be represented on the Authority. It goes without saying that the implication of the section is that the community at large, outside the universities, is also entitled as a community, to representation on the Authority. The question we are facing now is whether or not students should be entitled to the same explicit degree of recognition as a community as that shown to the academic community and to the community at large. It is very easy to sustain this thesis.

There are well over 20,000 students in institutions of higher educations in this country. In numbers alone they deserve at least some more formal acknowledgement of their involvement in the whole process of higher education than has been given to them in this Bill. The Minister said he is afraid of the principle of direct representativity coming into action because students representatives would have to report back to the various student organisations and institutions of which they may be members. It is quite true that student representatives of An tÚdarás would be under many pressures from outside and, more specifically, from members of their own organisations. It is naive, however, to assume that all other members of An tÚdarás are in some way immune from such pressures or that such pressures do not exist for other members of An tÚdarás and especially for the academic members.

The one safeguard available to any member of An tÚdarás in connection with the exercise of his functions is, basically speaking, security of tenure. In other words, if he is an academic member of An tÚdarás he may be removed from office but not by the institution of which he is a member. The same thing could be said for any student member of An tÚdarás. His right to speak his own mind or to beat out an independent path through the jungle of higher education would be safeguarded by the fact that any student organisation of which he was a member would not have the right to remove him from office on An tÚdarás.

There is a two-way process involved here. Naturally, if a student member of An tÚdarás wanted to retain the confidence of any student organisation of which he was a member, he would listen attentively to anything that the student organisation had to say. On the other hand, any student organisation which wanted to make their views known in the deliberations of An tÚdarás must ensure that they remain on reasonably good terms with the student members of An tÚdarás. If it severs its links completely with such student members, its chance of having its voice heard is correspondingly reduced.

Therefore, I do not think that the pressures which would be exercised on a student member of An tÚdarás would be any greater or any less difficult to resist than the pressures exercised on other members of An tÚdarás in the performance of their functions. I should look to the security of tenure of members of An tÚdarás as a safeguard available to students and other members to enable them to fulfil their duties properly.

In the discussion on this amendment, reference has already been made to the Minister's action in appointing students to governing bodies of universities. As Senator Robinson has said, this must be commended. At the same time, few students would willingly endorse a claim that the Minister for Education or his predecessors have been solely responsible for this new development in higher education. The Union of Students in Ireland are in possession of a magnificent letter from one of the Minister's predecessors, in which it is, more or less, implied that students, as such, do not exist, and if they do, they should be seen and not heard. That was in the comparatively recent past.

While we are glad to see that a change of heart is taking place in the Department and on the part of Ministers, it would be naïve in the extreme to assume that this change of heart was happening in Ministers and in a Department which was in some way totally isolated from the pressures of the outside world. There have been occasions recently when delegations from USI and from different student bodies, have practically camped in the Minister's office to express grievances about one thing and another. This is a very good thing, but it is fair to point up the really sharp difference that exists between this situation and the situation that existed a few years ago, when students were barely acknowledged at all.

On this occasion I look to the Minister to go a bit ahead of the field, for once, and not to put himself into the position where it will be grudgingly acknowledged that students have a right to this kind of very indirect representation on the Higher Education Authority. We should not be satisfied with a commitment from this particular Minister that he actually proposed to appoint students to the Authority in the exercise of his discretion under the Bill. One of the main reasons why I am disappointed with the Minister's statement is that it seems to imply a polarity in higher education, that what the students might represent and what the academic or other members might represent on the Higher Education Authority are different and, to some extent, hostile entities. This can be refuted quite easily.

The most obvious way I know of doing this is by referring to a statement issued by a standing committee of the Governing Body of University College, Galway, which is available to the Minister and which I should like to read into the record. This standing committee urged that there should be two student members of An tÚdarás who at the time of their appointment, and for the full duration of their membership, should be pursuing a full-time course of studies, leading to a university degree or diploma, or to a qualification of equivalent standing. This recommendation is not made by a student body; it is made by a body of academics, certainly by a standing committee set up exclusively by the Governing Body of University College, Galway, to discuss this question.

This suggestion, coming from such a source, shows that there is no fundamental division in purpose between the student members we should like to see added to An tÚdarás and the other members who are already defined in the Bill. I am afraid that the refusal to endorse explicitly the right of the student community, in line with the right of the academic community and the right of the community at large, to this kind of representation could be a divisive force in higher education and something that the Minister might later regret.

From what the Minister said in the Dáil, I understand that students are not specifically excluded, either. Personally, I believe that a student is not a mature enough person to advise the Minister, or to be among those who are advising him as members of An tÚdarás. He has not sufficient experience in the field of education and it does not make sense that a person who has not yet qualified himself in any field of higher education should act in an advisory capacity.

I agree entirely with this amendment. I am rather amazed to hear Senator Ahearne stating that she does not consider that students are mature enough to be appointed to such an authority as this. Obviously, she relegates universities to a position far below that of the Higher Education Authority, since her own Minister has conceded the idea of appointing two university students to it. How can she reconcile her statement with the action of her own Minister? I agree with the amendment, because I think there should be participation at all levels of education in the work of the Higher Education Authority.

At the moment, we are dealing with amendment No. 3 and two of the amendments on the Schedule—amendments Nos. 20 and 23. While I am in agreement with what has been said, I should like the sponsors of these amendments to have another look at amendments No. 23. I know the purpose of the amendment and what it means, but I wonder if the result might not be disappointing. It reads:

A student member of An tÚdarás shall be appointed for a term of two years, and the appointment shall not be renewable.

Would they object to an addition to that: "shall not be renewable as a student member"? As it reads at the moment, if a person who has been a student member qualifies after two years, the members of An tÚdarás, or the Minister, or whoever will make the appointment to the board, may want to appoint not a student but a qualified person who has been a student member. If amendment No. 23 is left as it is, it may be inferred from it that it precludes a person who has been a student member for two years from ever acting on An tÚdarás again. I wonder if the proposers of this amendment would have a look at that and see if my interpretation of it is right. Amendment No. 23 says:

A student member of An tÚdarás shall be appointed for a term of two years, and the appointment shall not be renewable.

I presume the inference from that is that if he leaves the university within that two years his membership ceases. In general, I agree with the three amendments and with the purpose of this Bill. I think it might have been phrased in a tighter way.

What we are talking about here is An tÚdarás um Árd Oideachas, that is, the Higher Education Authority. We are not talking about institutions of higher education. It is a very good thing that the Minister agreed some time ago to the provisions to which Senator Robinson referred regarding representation of students.

Speaking from my own experience, having been on a couple of authorities and being on one currently, I agree entirely with what Senator Horgan touched on, that authorities of this kind cannot have people appointed to them to represent different interests. There is an exception made in the appointment of seven academic members. As it has to do with the broad stratum of higher education it is justifiable. In my experience I have never come across so much frustration as that of being a member of a body and approaching my functions from an independent point of view when people around me are holding different views and are all locked in their own interests.

The Senator must sympathise with Opposition Senators so.

I certainly have found it frustrating in the past trying to deal at a national level with people whose minds are working on a sectional level nd who are unable to see the overall ood that is being aimed at.

I would have no objection whatsoever to students being members of a higher education authority provided that one was able to find suitable students to fill that role. I certainly would not advocate trying the Minister's hands to appointing two students every two years irrespective of their suitability. I would not exclude them but I certainly would not tie any Government down to appointing members. Nor would I tie a Government in respect of an Authority of this kind to appointing two trade unionists to represent trade unionists or two workers to represent workers. What we are looking for on this Authority is a cross-section of experienced representation to provide a higher body that will be able to restructure our educational requirements, that will be able to deal with higher institutes of education, and to provide a first-class national service.

I do not think that these amendments, which are well-intentioned, come up to the level of reality that is needed in the approach to this Bill. I have no objection whatsoever to students on these bodies, although Senator Ahearne said categorically that no students would have the experience. It is possible that one or two students would be found who are suitable and there is nothing to stop the Minister from appointing them.

There is a provision in this Bill for the appointment of committees. The possibility of appointing students to committees which would be advising the Authority may be a general concept in this Bill. I do not agree with the idea of tying down any national authority of this kind or the Minister to having to appoint students to serve on this authority.

I am in agreement with the intention of these amendments but I am not sure if I can technically agree with them as they stand. There are certain snags in the amendments. I do not agree with everything that Senator Brugha said and I certainly do not agree with Senator Ahearne. I do not think it is true that if post-graduate students and students are included and if there are such a high proportion of students as there are now, no student would be mature enough to give considered opinions on the problems facing higher education.

I should like to mention one or two things that might possibly be done. For example, there is an idea in Scotland which satisfies the student bodies there. They appoint a person called a rector who is not necessarily a student. They are free to appoint a student but he generally is not. He acts for them on the governing bodies of the Scottish universities.

He is usually a comic actor or a football player.

Not necessarily. On some occasions this has been so but that is up to the students themselves. They take the direction. On some occasions they have appointed actors. At least one actor was a very successful student representative on the Edinburgh University Governing Body when I was teaching in Glasgow. I hope Senator Kelly is not insinuating that all football players are blockheads because I played football myself.

That does not disprove it.

I know that his colleague, Senator Dooge, has taken part in these outlandish activities.

Senator West will not deny that the election of the rectors in the Scottish universities is regarded as a farce and a rag.

That is not true.

Frequently it is true.

In some cases student bodies have elected people who are not capable of sitting because they are African chiefs who were interned by their regimes or they were not available for other reasons. I am just putting this forward as an idea. It is worth thinking about that the person representing a student body need not necessarily be a student.

The universities have taken a wrong step in paying the president and vice-president of their student representative bodies to take the year off and become full-time administrators. Incidentally, that eliminates them from being members of An tÚdarás because they are not during the time of the presidency or vice-presidency pursuing a full-time course of studies. The universities are wrong because the students should not be given years off to administrate. There should be far more student exchange to allow them go abroad to other universities. It is wrong that the president or vice-president of the student representative councils in the universities cannot be eligible for membership of An tÚdarás because of the wording of this amendment.

Amendment No. 23 says that they, should be appointed for a term of two years. I cannot see any students being appointed in their first or second years. They would be fortunate to be appointed in their third year in Trinity College. Normally they would be fourth year students and would have only one year to run. In the National University the students most likely to be appointed would be second year students. They would sit for only one year on the Authority, and I should like to see some way of appointing people to represent the students who could sit on the Authority for a longer period. They would make more of a contribution if they could sit for at least two years and I prefer a longer period.

There are snags in this. There should be some way of representing the student community, which is now a very important and a very large section of our community, on the Authority, but I am not sure if the amendments as they are down here would do this satisfactorily.

I should like to support the point of view of Senator West. This was the point which struck me when reading the amendments put down and particularly when you see that amendment No. 3 is reinforced by the later amendments to make sure that the student membership that is proposed would consist of students who for the full duration of their two year appointment be pursuing a full-time course of studies leading to a university degree or diploma.

This proposal, in the terms presented, does no service to the students it is intended to help. A grave danger which can arise with the appointment of the students to any type of service, whether in student administration or in the administration of their own educational institutes, is that one may well jeopardise their career because of the work involved. In support of what Senator West said, it seems to me from meeting members of the existing Higher Education Authority that they have to put in a tremendous amount of work in the course of their service on that body. Also many of them are involved in work of the Authority where it is divided into committees dealing with particular subjects. This adds considerably to their work and any student member, if this pattern of work continued, and there was a student appointed to the Authority in the terms suggested by the proposers of these amendments, would find it almost impossible to bring his or her university degree or diploma studies to a successful conclusion.

The points made by Senator West are well taken. Students may be represented directly, and I am confident that many students can be found with a degree of maturity and judgment for these posts. Students can be represented in other ways—by younger graduates, for example. The powers which the Minister has are quite adequate to enable him to make an appointment, bearing in mind the type of interest in student involvement which has been made by the proposers of these amendments and by others. In the Second Stage debate I expressed my support for this idea of student involvement and stressed its importance in educational institutions. I made these remarks when welcoming paragraph (e) of section 3 of this Bill, and I should like to draw the attention of Senators to the terms of paragraph (e) regarding the specific functions of An tÚdarás under this Act. As they stand at the moment—we will be discussing possible amendments to this—An tÚdarás have a general function of promoting the democratisation of the structure of higher education. It seems to me that, when this Bill is enacted, An tÚdarás will become part of the structure of higher education and in that regard An tÚdarás will have an opportunity to consider their own membership.

Another point made by the Minister has been helpful, where he indicated that it is not his intention to fill the full complement of the Authority possible under this Bill initially, so that there will be room to manoeuvre should An tÚdarás both review their range of membership and perhaps make representations to the Minister in this regard. I feel that the Minister has a great deal of flexibility under this Bill and under the powers which it will give him. If he carries to his role under this Bill the same attitudes which he has demonstrated in the appointment of students to governing bodies previously, I am reasonably confident that the points made by Senators in proposing these amendments can be met without the adverse side affects to which I refer.

I had not intended to intervene in the debate on this section but Senator Keery's words have impelled me to do so. The Senator finished his speech by speaking on the Minister's record in the past in regard to the appointment of student representatives and the Minister's good intentions. I want again to protest in the strongest possible terms against legislation being promoted in this or in the other House on representation by a Minister which can not be made good against his successors or even against himself. I have not any strong feeling either way on this section but if the proposers of this amendment are going to allow themselves to be fobbed off simply by the representation that the Minister has in the past shown himself well disposed towards students, they are, in my view, doing a very foolish thing.

I wish to comment on the points raised by Senators, particularly the points raised by Senators Belton, West and Keery on amendment 23 which says:

A student member of An tÚdarás shall be appointed for a term of two years, and the appointment shall not be renewable.

On the point made by Senator Belton, if this is taken to read that the person will be excluded forever from the Higher Education Authority, it would be a simple matter to bring in an amendment on the Report Stage to deal with it.

As to the two-year appointment, this was brought in because of the necessity of having a shorter time for student members than the five years which the other members would have. It is clear that if the student left the university before the end of that time, he would either resign or the Minister would have power to remove him from the Authority and appoint another member. In actual fact a particular student might not sit for the full two years, just as an academic member might not sit the full five years if he either came to retiring age or if he left the institution or resigned or was removed for some reason.

I do not agree with Senator West that a student would be in his final year before he would come forward. I think the Auditor of the Historical Society in Trinity was a second-year student. Students do come forward more quickly now and it might very well be a second-year student who would come forward. Then there are courses in the university which last much longer than three or four years, and which in fact last five or six years. It is unrealistic to say that, out of a student community of the size we are catering for it would not be possible to appoint student members who would have the maturity and experience to cope with the functions of the Higher Education Authority which I have outlined. It is unrealistic to assume that the two year period is inflexible and that there might not perhaps be a quicker turnover of students. Nevertheless the appointment should be for two years unless for some reason the student resigns or is removed within that period.

As to the point regarding an outsider representing students, this is precisely what we are getting away from. It is a rather patronising idea that students are unfit, too young, or, too inexperienced to contribute to the Higher Education Authority. This is old fashioned thinking that I thought we had got away from. The precise point of this amendment, as Senator Horgan has explained, is not that these students would represent any particular body or be accountable to any particular body—although they may have pressures from student bodies—but that they would be representative of the student community in the same way as we have given status to the academic community and allowed certain academic members on the Authority. This is the reason for putting down the amendment. I should like to look ahead ten years and I should like to predict that there will be at least two student members on the Authority. Why can we not start off with this point of view? Why do we have to wait and learn by mistakes and by default?

One very brief point on what Senator West has said. Nobody would be more delighted than Senator Robinson and myself if we had student representatives appointed for a very much longer period of time. Our thinking in proposing this amendment was to maintain the credibility of student members of An tÚdarás in the eyes of the general public. I think that our amendments in broad terms ensure a continuing credibility in the eyes of the general public of such student members as may exist. I think that two student members as a minimum should be on An tÚdarás.

I take it that this amendment must be read in conjunction with amendments Nos. 20 and 23 to paragraphs 2 and 4 of the Schedule, which have been put down by Senators Robinson and Horgan. I wish to point out again that the constitution of An tÚdarás as set out in paragraph 2 of the Schedule does not preclude students from membership. Obviously, the proposers of this amendment and amendments Nos. 20 and 23 would not wish the students to be classed as academic members of whom there must at least be seven. It is also provided that there will be at least seven members who will not be academic members. There is nothing to prevent the Minister from including students among these seven members or among the additional four members who may be either academic or non-academic.

I have stated publicly on a number of occasions that I accept the principle of student participation in the running of certain types of institutions. As has been alluded to here in the debate, I have given evidence of my acceptance of that principle by nominating students on the governing bodies of the colleges of the National University of Ireland. This has been referred to in one particular instance—I will not say in a disparaging way—in a way from which one might assume that it was a simple matter to make a decision of this kind. I would assure Senator Horgan that it was by no means a simple matter, but that it was something which had never been done before and something to which I had to give very considerable thought in regard to the various and possible effects of the appointment of a student to the governing bodies of these colleges. Finally having decided that it was the proper thing to do, I made that decision and I appointed the students concerned.

More recently I have made provision for student members on the board of the College of Art and Design in the Bill which is at present before the Dáil. I am always ready to consider student representation or participation where I feel that such is appropriate. My present views, as I have stated in the Dáil and in my reply to the Second Reading of this Bill, is that An tÚdarás is not the type of body to which a student should be appointed. Should I change my mind about this, or should some future Minister wish to appoint a student or students to membership, the constitution is such as to allow of this being done.

The proposed amendment, however, taken in conjunction with the two later proposed amendments on student membership, would place a statutory obligation on the Government to appoint two students to An tÚdurás. I could not agree to this. The constitution, as set down in the Schedule, distinguishes only between two types of membership: that is academic members and members other than academic. If we were to divide the non-academic members into two groupings as has been suggested, that is, student members and non-student members, there would be an equally valid case for dividing these groups further to provide statutorily for the inclusion of persons associated with various other sections such as trade unions, as Senator Brugha mentioned, or industry and commerce and various other interests.

Under this Bill as it stands—and some Senators have agreed on this—the persons would be selected for membership on the basis of the potential contribution they could make to An tÚdarás having regard to their experience, knowledge, ability and so on. This body will not be a representative one in that the individual members will not represent any particular institution.

In relation to the suggestion that there should be a two-year period for students it is very unlikely, if a student were appointed for a two-year period, that he could possibly become fully effective as a member during that time. As I have said in the Dáil, in practice, I would regard an appointment of this kind to be simply an empty gesture and I do not believe in this type of gesture. I believe in appointing a person who through experience and so on can make a contribution.

I should like to refer to something Senator Brugha raised here—that is in relation to section 16 of the Bill which authorises An tÚdarás to appoint a committee or a person to advise on matters in relation to its functions. A student or students could be appointed under this section and I think that they would be very effective on such committees. While it would be entirely within the discretion of An tÚdarás whether to appoint them or not, I think it would be very advisable if they did so. On such a committee they would have an opportunity of giving advice on matters relating to the functions of An tÚdarás.

I wish to stress again that, in opposing this amendment, I am not closing the door against student membership. As I have said, students can be appointed within the terms of the Bill as it now stands. I am, however, rejecting the proposal that the Government should be statutorily bound to appoint students.

Is the amendment withdrawn?

The amendment is being pressed.

Amendment put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 10; Níl, 26.

  • Belton, Richard.
  • Butler, Pierce.
  • Fitzgerald, Jack.
  • Horgan, John.
  • Jessop, W.J.E.
  • O'Brien, Andy.
  • Reynolds, Patrick J.
  • Robinson, Mary T.W.
  • Russell, G.E.
  • West, Timothy Trevor.


  • Brennan, John J.
  • Brugha, Ruairí.
  • Crinion, Brendan.
  • Eachthéirn, Cáit Uí.
  • Farrell, Joseph.
  • Farrell, Peggy.
  • Fitzsimons, Patrick.
  • Flanagan, Thomas P.
  • Gallanagh, Michael.
  • Garrett, Jack.
  • Hanafin, Desmond.
  • Honan, Dermot P.
  • Keegan, Seán.
  • Keery, Neville.
  • Killilea, Mark.
  • McElgunn, Farrell.
  • McGlinchey, Bernard.
  • Nash, John J.
  • Norton, Patrick.
  • O'Callaghan, Cornelius K.
  • Ó Maoláin, Tomás.
  • O'Sullivan, Terry.
  • Ryan, Patrick W.
  • Ryan, William.
  • Sheldon, W.A.W.
  • Walsh, Seán.
Tellers: Tá, Senators Robinson and Horgan; Níl, Senators Brennan and Joseph Farrell.
Amendment declared lost.
Business suspended at 1.10 p.m. and resumed at 2.30 p.m.

I move amendment No. 4:

In subsection (1), lines 21 and 22 to delete "after consultation with an tÚdarás" and substitute "with the concurrence of an tÚdarás."

In the Dáil the Minister was asked, through an amendment put down by the Fine Gael Party, to restrict the creation of new institutions of higher education to such institutions as the Authority would recommend. In other words, the purpose of the amendment proposed in the other House was to give the Authority an initiative in adding to this list and to take this initiative away from the Minister and oblige him merely to consult with the Authority. The Minister met the case in the other House fairly enough. If I may quote him from the Dáil Official Report, Volume 252, column 263, he said that, so far as recognising as institutions of higher education, institutions which already existed it was possible:

The Minister would have knowledge of these institutions because of the fact that he would be already dealing with them and they would be receiving financial assistance from the State and the Minister would, therefore, know whether or not an institution was one which was likely to be an institution which would be acceptable to An tÚdarás for designation. For that reason I think the initiative must lie with the Minister. The Minister would suggest to An tÚdarás what institution should be designated and, after consultation with them, would then make up his mind.

The centre of gravity in the debate on this part of this section in the Dáil rested on this question of initiative. I feel the reason for that was the word "recommendation." The Dáil amendment left the initiative with the Authority. The Authority was supposed to form its own views and make up its own mind and collect its own knowledge about institutions which deserve, or might deserve, the designation of institutions of higher education. I am not sure that I find the Minister's reply entirely convincing but it was at least logical. His reply was that the Authority, as an Authority, might have no special knowledge of such institutions but that he would have, because he would be part of the funnel through which public funds would be going to them. I am not entirely convinced by it because although the Authority by itself, looked at as a unit, might not have official notice of the existence of such institutions; it seems to me incredible that the individual members of the Authority would not know an institution, the function of which entitled it, or might soon entitle it, to designation as an institution of higher education.

At the same time, in order to try and smooth this difficulty for the Minister and to enable him to meet the substantial problem which we on this side of the House feel this part of the interpretation section is likely to create, I am moving an amendment the object of which is broadly the same but with a slightly different structure. What I am proposing here is that the Minister should not be dependent on a recommendation from the Authority but that he should require the concurrence of the Authority before designating an institution as an institution of higher education. In other words, what I am proposing is not that the Authority should take the initiative—I am prepared that the Minister should retain the initiative in proposing an institution for this designation—but that the Authority should be given the statutory function of concurring or the statutory power of veto if it does not agree with the Minister that the institution in question deserves this designation.

I am sorry to harp so much on this, but I think it is something which this House is losing sight of these days. I do not suppose that the Minister is going to propose that for political reasons, or for some other bad reason, an institution which does not deserve this designation will be so designated. I am not suggesting that I see any sinister purpose behind this section as it stands. All I am saying—and I want to say it just as emphatically as I did in the provision about the academic member —is that this provision as it stands gives the Minister an unfettered discretion to call any institution he likes an institution of higher education.

It is perfectly clear that ministerial discretion now appears to be subject, within some limits at least, to official review. We do not want litigation about things like this. We want government to run smoothly with as little litigation as possible and as few fees for Fianna Fáil or other lawyers as possible. We are not anticipating, and we do not want, a situation to arise in which the Minister is going to be at legal loggerheads over what he does. It seems to me that the proper way to approach this thing is to envisage the possibility that at some future date, under some different Government or different kind of Government with a different Minister, there will be for some political reason an institution which a Minister takes under his wing and tries to elevate into an institution designated an institution of higher education.

I repeat that I am not accusing the present Minister or his Department of having any such intention. I am trying to protect the people among whom this law is going to be enforced from being exposed to this possibility ten, 20, 30 or 40 years from now. I repeat that it is not enough to slap the Minister on the back, thank him for his good intentions and the goodwill he has shown in the past and say, because of these features of the Minister's record, that we are ready to take whatever he hands out. That is not what we are here for. We cannot, in ten or 20 years from now, complain about maladministration and allege, with our complaint, that we were misled by Deputy Faulkner in 1971. No court in the land would listen to us. The Oireachtas would not listen to us. We must legislate now on the basis of what is in a Bill in black and white, not on the basis of our personal view of the Minister who is recommending it.

I am getting tired of saying that in this House, but I propose to keep on saying it until some notice is taken of it. I honestly say and feel that the provision in clause (c) in the interpretation section leaves it open to a Minister—I do not mean Deputy Faulkner, the present Minister—some time in the future to designate virtually whatever he likes as an institution of higher education. All the Minister is prepared to do is to consult with the Authority; he need not take the Authority's advice; he can overrule the unanimous view that an institution does not deserve to be so designated. The Minister is entitled to do that under this Bill. Let us be clear about what we are doing.

I do not think it is enough for this House to be persuaded—as I think we could easily be persuaded—that the present Minister has nothing but the best intentions in this regard. We must make sure that no future Minister is provided with some kind of loophole which will enable him for a political reason to designate as an institution of higher education something which does not deserve that name. The only way of preventing that which I can see in the context of the present Bill is to provide that such designation cannot be made without the concurrence of the Authority. I am prepared to leave the initiative with the Minister in the way which he suggested himself in the Dáil; I have no objection to that at all. But the Minister should not be entitled off his own bat to designate something as an institution of higher education. We must not forget that that is a function which in previous times was fulfilled by something like a royal charter and was led up to by lengthy and wearisome petitions and by debate. We should be slow to hand to a Minister a basically similar power to designate something as an institution of higher education without building into that permission the best safeguard we can devise and that, I suggest, would be the requirement that the Authority should concur in such designation.

Senator Kelly was speaking on this point all day and he spoke on it the last say we debated this Bill also. The Senator seems to think that at some future time we will be inflicted with a madman as Minister for Education who will suddenly take leave of his senses.

We have had them in the past.

The difference about a royal charter was that it was given by a king who was not answerable at the bar of public opinion. He was not answerable at a general election. His party were not answerable at a general election.

Would the Senator allow me to speak, please?

He cannot contain himself. I am afraid he cannot remain silent any longer.

My understanding of royal charters is that they were granted in medieval times. They may have been granted later when we had a constitutional monarchy. The earlier royal charters were granted when a king was a law unto himself. Certainly he did not have to go before the public every five years, or at shorter intervals. This is the greatest safeguard we have, the safeguard of parliamentary democracy where the Minister will have to go before the people and account for his stewardship.

No Minister in the future is suddenly going to take leave of his senses in the sense that Senator Kelly has been suggesting. The Senator has made a point. There is no need to repeat the same point all the time.

It is only fair to point out that what Senator Kelly has said in this regard has far more substance, than Senator McElgunn's intervention would lead us to believe. Senator Kelly talks about the fact that under this section the Minister, having merely consulted the Higher Education Authority, can determine any particular body to be an institute of higher education. Senator Kelly said that previously this was a matter that was determined by royal charter. In fact a very small minority of the university charters were granted prior to the 19th century. In the 19th century Britain was well in to her period of constitutional monarchy. The Whig revolution has been over for quite some time.

The position is that in regard to the charters of new universities, such as were created in Britain after the war or the alternations to the charters of the universities which had previously held them, this is a matter which is reserved to the particular body under the British Constitution which deals with matters which it is hoped will be above politics and above the concern of any individual Department.

Questions with regard to both institutions of higher education and professional institutions in Britain are dealt with by the Privy Council. It is on the advice of the Privy Council that charters are granted or charters are amended. When concern is expressed that the Minister is given unfettered power here it is, in fact, that the break from previous procedures appears altogether too sharp. I am not quite sure who is the successor to the Privy Council—I suppose it is the Government acting as a whole—and my legal colleagues would know that better. The concern here is that the Minister is given the power to elevate a body. He is given that power subject only to the proviso that he must consult the Higher Education Authority, but he can subsequently disregard completely what they say.

The phrase which appears in this paragraph is a time-honoured one. The phrase "after consultation" has been in our legislation for nearly 50 years. It means that the Minister is completely unfettered in this regard. What is being sought in this amendment is that the decision should be a shared decision between the Minister and the Higher Education Authority. This is something to which the Minister and the House should give very serious consideration.

It might be that we would be better off to leave this matter over to be brought in on an amending Bill unless the Minister intends to designate a large number of bodies as institutions of higher education. If the Minister intends to designate a large number of such institutions, and every year designate a new batch of institutions of higher education, then there is even more cause for the concern we are expressing about leaving it as a function which the Minister should carry out completely on his own initiative and discretion.

I support this amendment because it seems to be a reasonable submission and a proper sharing of power, as Senator Dooge has said. I support it for the reasons that the two Senators have given and particularly because this section must be read with section 5 of the Bill which states that "An tÚdarás shall advise the Minister on the need or otherwise for the establishment of new institutions of higher education". If An tÚdarás are to be asked by the Minister for advice and if the recommendations will come from them, it is natural that the Minister would exercise his function with the concurrence of An tÚdarás. In order to ensure a healthy relationship between An tÚdarás and the Minister there must be a lot of interplay between them. I note that the designation will be made by means of regulation and there will be no need to come back to the Houses of the Oireachtas.

The Minister might well accept this amendment as being a proper sharing of functions where it would be with the concurrence of An tÚdarás because more than likely—and I should like some clarification on this point—the impetus will come from An tÚdarás under section 5. If An tÚdarás advises the Minister on the need or otherwise to set up new institutions or designate existing institutions as institutions of higher education and the Minister refuses to accept their advice and designates instead other institutions that have not been recommended by An tÚdarás, this would lead to a very unhealthy situation and would be bad for the status and autonomy of the Higher Education Authority. For that reason alone I think this amendment is a very reasonable one and one which logically follows from the combining of section 5 and this part of section 1.

I, too, support this amendment. The main technical reasons why the amendment should be accepted have already been given. If I were the Minister I would accept the amendment The fact that the Minister wishes to reject it seems to be entirely wrong.

There is another aspect of this matter which may appeal to the present Minister or to any future Minister. A situation may occur where an application may be made by some institution in the Minister's constituency to be recognised as an institution of higher education. If such an institution does not come up to the required standard the application will be rejected and the Minister will get the entire blame, because the Minister is the sole resort as the Bill now stands. Senator Kelly wants that resort to be jointly shared with An tÚdarás. If Senator Kelly's amendment is accepted the Minister could relieve himself of the sole blame and share it with An tÚdarás.

If, on the other hand, the Minister recognises an institution which does not come up to the required standard he would be destroying the whole concept of the Higher Education Authority. If I were in the Minister's position I would prefer to have joint responsibility in the final decision. That may be said to be just an argument in favour of Senator Kelly's amendment, but if the Minister analyses it he may discover that it might be to his benefit not to have the sole responsibility of deciding what institutions should come within the ambit of the Higher Education Authority.

I wish to support the previous speakers on this amendment. Such advice is inherent in the idea of having an autonomous HEA, picked and balanced so as to represent the various branches of higher education. It is only right that the Minister should have this advice. It is reasonable to assume that the advice should be favourable before he acts. In other words, it should be with the concurrence of An tÚdarás. I cannot see any reason why the Minister should reject the amendment. We are all anxious that a balanced HEA should be set up. We are also anxious to ensure in all legislation that the resultant product is independent of the type of Minister who may hold office. Whether the Minister is a good Minister or not should not make any difference. Our job here is to make such legislation independent of the personality of the Minister.

We have seen too much pushing of regions in the past in the field of higher education simply because a Minister came from a particular region. We all agree that some of the present difficulties were created by the premature announcement on the Limerick Higher Institue. We do not want higher education to become a plaything of politics and consequently I appeal to the Minister to set a good example in this Bill by agreeing to this very reasonable amendment.

First of all, I could not agree with Senator Quinlan when he says that the idea of the Institution of Higher Education in Limerick was a plaything of politics. This will be an exceptionally valuable institution not only for Limerick and its region but also for the country in general. It will fulfil a national need.

I should like to refer to a point made by Senator Kelly many times during the debate. It is that we are not legislating for just the moment, but for the future, and that quite possibly some Minister may be in my place who may not act as reasonably as I so obviously do. There is no reason to anticipate that whoever is appointed Minister for Education in the future will act irresponsibly. If the type of government which the Senator has in mind ever came to power, they would not be very much concerned with legal niceties. Even if they were, they would not have any compunction in changing the law in order to suit their purposes. Therefore, I should not regard that as a good reason in itself for accepting this amendment.

The section empowers the Minister to designate, by regulation, particular institutions as institutions of higher education for the purposes of the Act, after consultation with An tÚdarás. Senator Kelly's amendment would inhibit the Minister from designating an institution, unless An tÚdarás concurred in his so doing. This would give An tÚdarás the power of veto over the Minister, and it would mean that if An tÚdarás took certain attitudes in relation to a proposal by the Minister to designate a certain institution, neither the Minister nor the Government, nor even the Oireachtas, could do anything about it. Such a position could be taken up by a majority of one vote.

I wish to stress again what I stated in the Dáil. One could not visualise a Minister, except in the most unusual circumstances, rejecting the advice of An tÚdarás in a matter such as this. Obviously, I could not accept a proposal which would give An tÚdarás what is the equivalent to absolute and final power in relation to the designation of an institution. It has been stated here by a number of Senators that it would be a shared decision. In practice, it would amount to a veto and certainly it would not be a shared decision, in my view. I also wish to underline the fact that as the Bill stands, the Minister cannot arbitrarily designate an institution since section 2 requires that designation must be by regulation. Section 20 of the Bill requires that every such regulation should be laid before each House of the Oireachtas, and provides that a regulation can be annulled by a resolution of either House. This provides a sufficient safeguard because a Minister unless he were very foolish, obviously would not attempt to designate an institution which was not worthy of designation, and face the public in open criticism of this in the Houses of the Oireachtas.

I should also like to point out that if this amendment were accepted, and if the Minister wished to designate an institution, either against the advice of An tÚdarás or in conformity with their advice, the matter would have to come before the Oireachtas. However, if this amendment were accepted, the Oireachtas would not have an opportunity of discussing the designation of any institution other than those which would be approved by An tÚdarás.

There is not very much more that I can say about this. It is tantamount to a veto on the Minister. As the section stands, it is quite satisfactory, and I cannot visualise a situation in which it would be abused. The Minister, knowing all the facts in relation to the particular institutions, would consult with An tÚdarás as to whether or not they were suitable, and I consider this to be a far more effective way of dealing with the matter. I could not visualise any Minister, unless in very exceptional circumstances, placing himself in the position where he would be open to public criticism in the Houses of the Oireachtas if he were to attempt to designate an institution which, obviously, should not be designated.

It seems to me that this will be a very comical authority. They have not got control even over what will be the institutions of higher education which are supposed to be supervised. The very word "authority" will sit comically on a body which will not even have that much power. So far as the points made by the Minister are concerned, my impression is that the Minister has decided to push through this Bill, as it stands, or perhaps that is the advice given to him by his officials. When this side of the House gets that impression, one wonders if there is any point in continuing. However, if I were to give up now I should be falling into the state of mind of Senator McElgunn, who, judging from his intervention a few minutes ago, appears to think that it is enough to make an act of faith in people who habitually come up for election every four or five years, and that that in itself is a sufficient check. This is supposed to be a country run on law, with law, by law, through law, and we are making law here.

Mr. Elgunn

Does the Senator object to the people being the Final arbiters?

The Senator knows perfectly well that I have no objection to it. The people send representatives to make law which will bind the people. I have no objection to their changing rulers, but I object very much to the suggestion that it is enough for the rulers to be simply given the reins of power and that no control should be exercised on them, except once every four or five years.

Did the Senator read section 20?

This is the Committee Stage and Senators are allowed to speak more than once, but it would be better, if Senators would withhold their remarks until another Senator has finished.

I interrupted Senator McElgunn and I do not mind his interrupting or interrogating me.

I read section 20, and I know what it is about, and I shall come to it soon. The Minister says that he cannot visualise a Government so outrageous that they would wish to do the things which I am suggesting. I can see his logic when he says that if a Government were hell-bent on doing something unreasonable, a piece of paper will not stop them. That is an argument which I have used on occasions, and I can see the force of it. However, we know that there are Governments which are partly good and partly bad. Sometimes the good predominates; sometimes the bad predominates. We also know that there are Governments, some parts of whose policy are outrageously bad, and which are redeemed in the electors' eyes by the fact that, overall, the Government are not so outrageously bad.

I am trying to ensure that we get as little as possible of the former type of Government and as much of the latter type. I can quite easily visualise a Government—provided by Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael or any other party—which on the whole are a good kind of Government and under which life is tolerable. However, perhaps to prevent themselves from criticism or in order to meet a local political difficulty, they break loose in the educational sphere and recognise no reason. They might be a Government which in every other respect deserve support, but I can very well imagine this situation and I am trying to prevent it happening. It is not enough for the Minister to say that we shall not get a Government of that kind here, and that if it ever happened, it would be a tyranny which would not allow a statute to stand in their way.

Even tyrants sometimes find themselves constrained by law, even tyrants have to go through the motion of respecting the law as they find it, even tyrants have to look at what the people have come to regard as their rights and tread warily if they are about to change them or abridge them. I do not think the Minister necessarily means this and I may be putting words into his mouth which do not accurately represent his point of view; but it is wrong to come to an assembly like this and say: "Make an act of faith in the kind of people we are or will be for the next generation or the next two or three generations". That is no way to treat an assembly which may be legislating for a century.

The Minister said: In a kind of scandalised tone that what I propose is that the Authority should have power of veto over the Minister. That is exactly what I provide, and what is wrong with that? We are setting up something called An tÚdarás um Ard Oideachais. If that means anything it must mean that the Authority is an authority. If we are not calling it An Coimisiún Ard Oideachais or An Bord um Ard Oideachais or some kind of consultative body, let us call it that and let there be no more pretence. If it is to be an authority it should have some authority.

Let it have enough authority at least to make up its mind what deserves to be designated as an institution of higher education and what does not. The Minister says in outraged tones, "They will be able to veto me." That is exactly what I propose. I propose that the Authority should be able to prevent the Minister from setting up a thing as an institution of higher education which does not deserve that title.

The Minister goes on to say that if that veto were effective "There would be nothing that the Minister or the Government or the Oireachtas could do about it". The Minister is absolutely wrong in saying that. He himself would not be able to do anything about it but the Government could retaliate if they wished. This is the point about the law and this is the point about where the restraints, even though they may be gentle restraints, of law come in. The Government, if they wished to retaliate, if they felt that strongly about it, could retaliate by removing all the members of An Útdarás or removing as many of them as were necessary in order to reverse their decision. The Oireachtas could retaliate by repealing this legislation and replacing it with something else. The Minister is wrong in saying that a veto put up by this Authority would in the first place be inappropriate and in the second place be something about which the Government or the Oireachtas could do nothing. Of course they could do something about it.

The last thing I heard the Minister say after a series of arguments was that he could not visualise a Minister rejecting the advice of An tÚdarás under section 5 and that if An tÚdarás were to recommend the designation of, an institution or advise against it he, could not imagine a Minister departing from that advice. Is there not an example before his very own eyes of a departure from advice by as weighty an authority on education as ever sat in this country?

Did not the Commission on Higher Education sit for six years, produce a weighty and a lengthy report which was flung into the wastepaper basket overnight by the Minister's predecessor, Deputy O'Malley? It was treated as being of no account because it suited his book at the time to treat it so and because it made more headlines to treat it like that. What kind of a precedent is that? How persuasive is the Minister when he now tells us that he cannot imagine a Minister departing from the advice of An tÚdarás um Ard Oideachais when the only authority approximating to this which had the knowledge and the experience which I hope will be in this Údarás, produced a comprehensive report on higher education which was ditched overnight?

In conclusion, there is one thing I wish to say regarding section 20. Senator McElgunn reminded me of it. It is true that if the Minister makes an order like this it has got to be by regulations and these regulations have to be laid before each House of the Oireachtas. We know here what that means.

The first thing I did when I was elected to this House was to put down a motion on a relatively trivial subject which to me seemed to reflect the quality of government we were getting. It was a motion to annual the coinage regulations which inflicted those disgusting little designs on us which the 2 new pence, 1 new pence and ½ new pence in our pockets now have. That, was a statutory regulation and it was open to the same kind of annulment as this section 20 has. It sat on the Order Paper of this House for seven months before it was taken. When it was taken the Minister for Finance said that if the annulling resolution were passed it would torpedo the entire decimal programme. But it would not have done so had it been taken seven months previous to that.

Not only that, but this section 20 bears looking at a little more closely. It provides that even an annulling resolution is without prejudice to anything previously done. In other words, if the Minister constitutes an institution as an institution of higher education the two Houses can annul it until they are black in face six months later, but it will not do away with the validity of anything done under that regulation before the annulling resolution is passed.

I was amazed to hear Senator Kelly saying that An tÚdarás would have a veto over the Minister. We must remember that the financial end of An tÚdarás comes from here through the Minister and whoever pays the piper must have a certain say in what goes on.

Shades of the semi-State companies.

He can say that here all right, but the Minister must have some control over it. Any Minister, being reasonable, will consult with the, Authority. If it had veto over him he would not be able to consult with it because it would not bother to take any heed of what he said. When the Minister is parting with this money to keep the Authority there he has to answer to both Houses of the Oireachtas for it. He would have to answer for its wrongdoings and have no say in which way the money should be spent. On account of that, I feel the Minister must have the final say. The public can be safeguarded in that the Minister has to answer by way of question or in his Estimate for anything that the public should consider that he was doing wrong.

If An tÚdarás has complete veto over anything he says it would have nobody to answer to. The members would not have to answer to anybody so they would become a dictatorship. If this amendment were accepted it would not work out for the best. Most Ministers, when appointed know that they will have to answer to the public and to the Oireachtas and will try to get the right decisions through. If a body have the power of veto over the Minister he could never discuss anything with them. They might condescend to come to him once a year and ask for so much money. The Department and the Minister would have no say with An tÚdarás and it would be very detrimental to the educational system of Ireland.

I am afraid the last Senator has missed the point that this very autocratic body—An tÚdarás —is to be reappointed by the Minister every five years. Therefore, I cannot see how there is any foundation for suggesting that An tÚdarás could behave unreasonably to the Minister.

The other point is the orders made by the Minister—that the designation has to be finally laid before both Houses of the Oireachtas. After 14 years, this provision could almost be scrapped from the legislation for all the use that it has. As long as a Minister has a majority behind him and a Government Whip, the idea that either House will ever annul an order made by the Minister is a fantasy. As Senator Kelly has rightly pointed out, we do not even get a proper discussion on those orders while the item is still relevant.

The fact that the Minister does not want to share any power is a frightening symptom of the bureaucratic mind. It shows how much the Government acknowledge the powers the Judiciary rightly have and the way in which they can intervene and declare that Acts are unconstitutional. If the Government were starting all over again, or if it rested with our bureaucracy, there would be an effort made to take some power from the Judiciary. There are appointment procedures laid down, which include the extreme procedures of the removal of members of An tÚdarás and I do not understand why we cannot entrust them with this right of recommendation of designation. The initiative should come from An tÚdarás.

And the Minister should accept it?

No, he does not have to accept it.

That is what Senator Kelly said.

Yes, indeed.

It says here he shall do it with the concurrence of An tÚdarás. Sorry, the initiative is with the Minister, but we are asking that it can only be done with the concurrence of An tÚdarás. The Minister must understand the great dissatisfaction which is prevelant in every phase of our educational system at the lack of consultation—in other words, the difference between what the Department and the Minister say when they have consulted a body and are getting the concurrence of that body. We have had consultations and in most cases they were a mockery. We should let An tÚdarás have power and authority.

The Minister, unwittingly, seems to misrepresent my attitude on the Limerick Higher Institute. I merely stated that the political intervention by the then Minister has made it more difficult for the type of institution that the country needs to evolve in Limerick and grow into a powerful institute. You have to creep before you walk and I hope the Minister will not seek to misrepresent my views on that.

I will not go over all these problems now but I wish to state that everywhere I go I meet people who say the authority of control in this country has left Leinster House because the Government in the past have been farming out too many of their problems to too many people. Senator Kelly put great emphasis on this word "authority". Senator Crinion covered the point that if the Minister pays the money he is entitled to call the tune. I should not like to see too much Ministerial intervention in An tÚdarás, but the responsibility finally rests with the Minister. He or any sensible man would not hand his authority over to anyone else. If An tÚdarás could make decisions and veto the Minister and tell him what to do, it would then be evident that the authority of the Oireachtas was finished. You could not have a situation where the State would provide the money and somebody else would tell them what way to use that money. This would be illogical.

There may be reasons for the fears Senator Kelly has about the Ministers of the future, but it is stupid to say we are legislating here for 40 years of education. The system of education will change so rapidly there will be a succession of either regulations or Bills to keep pace. To say that any Minister would be required to hand over his authority to somebody else who is really a beneficiary of his authority would be completely illogical. This would make it evident to people outside who complain that authority has disappeared from the Houses of the Oireachtas that there is some substance for their fears.

I suppose it is only natural after four hours of debate that Senators Crinion and Honan should think we were now discussing section 12 of the Bill. I should like to remind them that we are still discussing section 1. Both Senators talked about the ultimate responsibility of the Minister for providing finance and said that on this account it should be for the Minister alone to determine how the money should be spent.

The provision of money is dealt with under section 12 of the Bill. What we are concerned with on this amendment to section 1 is the question of the designation of institutions as being institutions of higher education. We are here concerned with the question of whether at a particular point of time a particular educational institution should be put into the category of an institution of higher education—that it should be considered an institution that is worthy of whatever degree of autonomy institutions of higher education have, that their practices and finances should be the same as those of established institutions of higher education. That is the net point we are concerned with. The point being argued from this side of the House is that the decision as to whether a particular institution was now of such a nature that it should be classed with those institutions which are recognised as belonging to this category of institutions of higher education, should properly be a shared decision.

In his earlier intervention, the Minister seemed to argue that if this amendment were adopted the decision would not be a shared one, that it would become completely a decision of An tÚdarás. But that is not so. This amendment, if adopted, would mean that the Minister could not act without the concurrence of An tÚdarás, but it does not force the Minister to act upon their recommendation. It is true to say that this amendment would give the veto to An tÚdarás but it would also leave the Minister with a veto over the recommendations of An tÚdarás. If the Minister thought at any time that for any reason, whether educational or financial, a particular body should not be elevated to be an institution of higher education, then the Minister can refrain from making the regulation.

All the amendment states is that if the Minister makes a regulation he should make it with the concurrence of An tÚdarás. The Minister has said that he can hardly imagine a circumstance in which the Minister would be in conflict with An tÚdarás on a point of this type. Indeed, this is the position of every one of us.

What is being sought in this amendment is to make the unimaginable illegal. The situation that the Minister cannot imagine as occurring is the one which we want to make sure does not occur. In this particular regard, I hope the Minister will not take it as a slight that we consider his imagination may be somewhat limited and our own imaginations here are also somewhat limited. The Minister has said he thinks it is only in very exceptional circumstances that he, or any of his successors, would go against a recommendation of An tÚdarás with regard to the designation of an institution. I am quite sure that when we come to the appropriate part of the Schedule the Minister will tell us it is only in very exceptional circumstances that the Government would exercise their right to removal of a member. It may well be that we can bring these two exceptional sets of circumstances together.

Senator McElgunn earlier said that the Minister alone should have this right of designating whether a body is to be an institution of higher education because the Minister was subject to the sanction of a general election, subject to a verdict from the people in five years or less. Those of us who are professionally engaged in education would perhaps like to think that once in a century the issue in regard to higher education might become an issue in a general election, but we doubt it. We do not hope that the concern of higher education is thought by the people to be of such importance that it would determine the outcome of an election.

It is not true to say that if this amendment were accepted there would be no sanction against the members of the Authority. If the Minister considers they are behaving wrongly in this regard, if the Minister considers that they are completely wrong, then he should not hesitate to use the powers of removal or at the very least to use his powers of non-reappointment in regard to the members of An tÚdarás. If he finds himself in serious conflict with An tÚdarás he may consider that the issue is one not serious enough, not clear-cut enough for him to remove members of an Authority which might put its whole autonomy in doubt, but he could exercise his sanction when it came to the time of re-appointment.

As is the case that Government are, under general policy, subject to periodic sanction by the electorate, so too the members of An tÚdarás are subject to periodic sanction by the Minister. I agree with the Minister when he says that it is very hard to imagine a conflict of this type arising. I think the consequences of it would be quite serious. If the Minister were to designate a body as an institution of higher education against the advice of An tÚdarás, the position would then be that the next thing the Minister would do is to ask An tÚdarás to recommend to him how much money should be spent on this institution which An tÚdarás thinks should not be an institution of higher education at all.

It would be a rather farcical situation that An tÚdarás would have the statutory duty of recommending how much of the resources for higher education should be devoted to a particular body when in fact it believed that that body should not be included within its scope at all. I think there has been a misunderstanding in regard to the scope of this amendment. This amendment is concerned only with the designation of bodies. It is an important thing. This designation by regulation is the equivalent of the granting of a charter under the existing situation. The granting of a charter was never something that was done lightly. The designation of an institution of higher education similarly is something that should not be done lightly.

To return to the point, I think that a proper way of carrying this out is a clear decision, one in which a body would be designated with the concurrence not only of An tÚdarás but of the Minister as well. If, indeed, there is a serious conflict it would not be too much to delay the final decision until such time as this could be reconciled either by reasonable argument or by the application of sanctions by the Minister to the members of An tÚdarás immediately or on the expiration of their term.

I am very much in sympathy with a lot of the sentiments expressed by Senators Kelly and Dooge on this amendment, but nothing they have said really convinces me that it is necessary. Senator Kelly has spoken in terms of giving the Authority a veto over the Minister and this has, I think, quite rightly alarmed people. Certainly the Authority is an Authority and it must be given authority in order to enable it to carry out its job, but it is basically a subordinate authority. It seems to me that the safeguards provided later on in the Bill about submitting the regulations to the Houses of the Oireachtas, though far from perfect, at least ensure that the control of the situation returns here. I still feel that we have to express our support for the idea that the ultimate control, however badly organised and difficult to exercise, should reside in the Houses of the Oireachtas who are responsible to the Irish people, rather than in an Authority which is not responsible to anybody but the Minister who has appointed it.

Senator Dooge criticised Senators Honan and Crinion and said they appeared to be speaking on section 12 rather than on section 1. It should be remembered that section 12 will operate only in relation to institutions which come under the definition in section 1 and, therefore, section 1 has financial implications. I am rather interested in Senator Kelly's view that I am unreasonable because I operate on the basis that the Minister and his successors will not prove autocratic. It is the very essence of democracy that power should rest with the Minister and the Government rather than in somebody not responsible to Parliament.

Following Senator Kelly's speech a number of other Senators on that side of the House spoke and they referred to what they believed was the fact that decisions would be shared. In my reply to this I pointed out that this is not so. In practical terms it means a veto on what the Minister would do. Senator Kelly later agreed that this was so. It should be remembered that designation has tremendous financial implications and that, therefore, the final prerogative in connection with it should rest with the Minister.

Amendment put and declared lost.

I move amendment No. 5:

Before subsection (2) to insert the following new subsection:

"() No institution may be designated as a university or as a college of a university (save for any institution so designated by or under an Act of the Oireachtas) unless an tÚdarás shall recommend that an institution shall be so designated".

I will be brief on this. The amendment is one which has much the same purpose as No. 4. It might have been possible to take it along with No. 4 but for one argument special to itself which I want to advance. The amendment reads:

No institution may be designated as a university or as a college of a university (save for any institution so designated by or under an Act of the Oireachtas) unless an tÚdarás shall recommend that an institution shall be so designated.

If Senators will look at the interpretation section they will see that the words "university" and "college of a university" are left undefined. An institution of higher education is inferentially defined. It is an institution which the Minister, after consultation, etc. designates for the purposes of the Act. But the words "university" and "college of a university" are left undefined. The same fear which I entertained in regard to the unworthy promotion of institutions to the status of higher education and which the Minister's words have not dispelled, inspired me to put down this amendment in regard to the words in paragraphs (a) and (b). There is nothing in this Bill to define a university or college of a university and I am concerned that it should not be possible for this Government or any Government hereafter to constitute in an informal way some institution other than provided for in paragraph (c) by simply labelling it a university or a university college.

I do not need to be told that in the past universities and university colleges have been set up by charter or by legislation or both. I understand that is the normal way of doing things but what has happened in the past when the British were here does not bind us now, as I have to remind the other side of the House every week. It is important for us to bear in mind the possibility that some Government might in the future, or some Minister might in the future, to suit some unworthy purpose, designate informally some institution as a university or as a university college. It is to guard against this possibility that I have proposed this amendment.

I know this is not an exact analogy and I do not want to press it too hard but let us not forget that we are at the moment discussing a Bill to constitute an authority which in a sense already exists. A thing with the name Údarás um Ard Oideachas already exists. It has got offices which are paid for out of the Department of Education Vote. It has got officers. It has got tasteful notepaper engraved in green with the State harp and its name and address at the top. It has all the appearances and the trappings of a thing already established by law although it is a purely ad hoc body set up without reference to either House of the Oireachtas.

Let us not forget that. As I say, I realise that the analogy is not a very close one but I am concerned that the procedure used in that case, without reference to either House of the Oireachtas, would not be used in future in order, for some unworthy purpose, to designate as a university or as a college of a university some institution which did not previously carry that name and which for some reason the Minister did not find it convenient to bring under paragraph (c).

I am not particularly wedded to the wording of my own amendment. If the Minister sees any virtue in what I am putting up to him I am willing to withdraw it if he has some better suggestion of his own.

I might say, first of all, that what we are concerned with at the moment in relation to the universities or colleges of universities are the existing universities and colleges of universities. I would also wish to point out that there is no question in this section, or elsewhere in the Bill, of the designation of any institution as a university or as a college of university.

Section 1 (1) provides that an "institution of higher education" means (a) a university, (b) a college of a university, or (c) an institution which the Minister, after consultation with An tÚdarás, designates by regulations as an institution of higher education for the purposes of this Act. A university or a college of a university is de facto an institution of higher education within the meaning of this Act. Designation under this Bill applies to institutions other than a university or college of a university. I should also point out that we have no means of creating a new university except by legislation. Therefore, the fears of the Senator in relation to this Bill and its powers are unfounded.

I agree with the Minister that the pattern of the law as it stands is, as the Minister says, that there is no precedent for a university being set up or institution being given that name otherwise than by legislation or by something analagous to legislation. But I am concerned that we might in the future be facing a situation where some Minister, for some purpose of his own, informally conferred this title. I need scarcely say that a title of that kind, once conferred, even informally, will not readily be surrendered again by those who are the beneficiaries of it.

I do not want to push the point unduly. I recognise that there is not as much substance in it as there was in my last point, which the Minister totally failed to answer. I would be willing, for example, to withdraw this amendment, if the Minister were to agree to insert the word "existing" between the indefinite article and the words "university or college of a university" in (a) and (b). I have listened to the Minister's assurance that what is envisaged in (a) and (b) is an existing university or college. Perhaps the Minister would make that plain.

Nothing else could be meant in relation to this except the existing universities and colleges of universities. I should like to point out also that there is nothing in this Bill which would enable us to do what the Senator appears to think we could do.

That is perfectly so. There is nothing in the Bill which would make it possible to do it; but I am afraid that it might be done informally. I gave the simile in no contentious spirit. It might be done informally on an ad hoc basis; some institution might be called a university or called a college of a university. If I were sitting as a judge on whether that was legally a university or a college of a university I might today be disposed to say it was not. It is a thing which is not all that open and shut. We all know that there is no such thing as anything certain in law. The Minister is quite right in saying that there is nothing in this Bill which entitles the Authority to set up a university or a college in that way. Suppose it were done nonetheless, I cannot predict what the judge might say in 20 or 30 years' time if asked to adjudicate on whether this thing carrying the informal name “university” was or was not a university for the purpose of this Bill.

At the risk of irritating Senators on the other side of the House—they have heard me make a similar point several times today—may I add that it would not help anyone in that litigation if I were to produce the report of this debate and say that Deputy Faulkner in 1971 assured us that it could not be done. Not only would it not help the litigant but he would not be allowed to produce that as evidence. Would the Minister not consider inserting the word "existing" before university.

No. As I see it, if I insert the word "existing" before the words mentioned by the Senator in this situation and at some future period if a new university was set up by legislation, then it could only be designated under (c) of this section. I must say that, while the Senator may have been dissatisfied with the arguments I put up on the previous amendment, I personally believe I put forward very cogent arguments. However, if he is dissatisfied with them, I must say that I am equally dissatisfied with the case he is making in relation to this particular amendment.

We have finished with the other amendment. I am sorry for referring to it, but let me ask the Minister this question. I am not trying to catch him out and I must say I do not know the answer to this in detail myself. I would like to be referred to the legislation which would make it unlawful for me, if I could raise enough money to set up tomorrow morning in premises of my own, an institution—call it a university—and put out letterheads, provide instruction in it and print syllabuses. Perhaps there is such legislation but I cannot, offhand, think of anything which would make it unlawful for me to do so. It might be unconstitutional. This has only just occurred to me and I shall not waste the time of the House with it for very long. It might be unconstitutional if any such legislation existed; it might be unconstitutional if I were prevented from instituting a higher school, financed out of private funds, as many such schools are in the United States and other parts of the world, and labelling it whatever I liked.

If there is no law to prevent my doing that it follows that the situation needs to be looked at. In what I said previously I was thinking rather of the case in which a Government or a Minister would set up an ad hoc body, or in an ad hoc way informally agree to label some body a university or a university college. Suppose it was done by private interests, what is the situation there? If it is to be labelled a university or a college, is the Minister absolutely certain that a judge will be in some way prevented by law from recognising it as such and that it will not lawfully count as such?

I am not issuing that by way of a challenge; I am not absolutely sure of my own ground, but I should be surprised if there is anything in the law which prevents me from doing that. That is one of the things that worries me about the section as it stands.

The one thing that I could see happening if this amendment were accepted would be that it would be taking power away from the Minister. He is the person who should have the final say, even after consultation. The Senator is asking that An tÚdarás would come to the Minister. That would mean if people were set in, particularly in the second year of their service, they would be inclined to sit there and let nobody else in. As the Bill stands at the moment the Minister will have a say. He will go to them and consult them and say "I think this body should be taken in; I think it is a very good institution". The initiative should come from there with consultation with An tÚdarás, not with An tÚdarás coming to the Minister. When a body would get set in like that I would be a bit afraid of it and it would be tieing the Minister too much.

Senator Kelly mentioned about the courts. I think he is inclined to tie things too much. In the country we always say "Nobody is the winner in the courts, it beggars both sides".

We say that in the city, too.

The best way to get anything through is by negotiation and consultation. You must have a figurehead to set a headline and it should lie with the Minister. In that way I feel that the section as it stands should stay.

I should like to ask the Minister if he has anything to add to what he has already said about this?

I think I have already answered the questions.

Is the Minister satisfied that no problem will be created if a private interest started an institution and called it a university or university college of his own?

I could not imagine a problem of that type arising. I could not imagine a court accepting that an institution of this sort would be recognised as a university. It is not quite as easy as all that to set up universities or institutes of higher education.

This is what I would have thought. I am simply trying to help to get a decent Bill and I am trying to close loopholes which the Bill seems to have left. However, I will not press this particular amendment as there would not appear to be as much substance in it as there was in the previous one.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 1 agreed to.
Section 2 agreed to.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

The acceptance of amendment No. 6 may involve the deletion of section 4. Accordingly, if the discussion of the amendment goes on to include the discussion of section 4 as it stands, this will not necessarily be out of order.

I move amendment No. 6:

Between lines 36 and 37 to insert

"() promoting the national aim of restoring the Irish language and preserving and developing the national culture."

I move this amendment with considerable trepidation, not least because I am not altogether happy with the wording here which was arrived at after a certain amount of consideration that could, perhaps, have been extended with benefit to Members themselves. It could probably be improved in many ways. My greatest fear is the possibility of misinterpretation which may arise from this version of the amendment. It may very well be said, and, indeed, probably has been said, that in this amendment there is an attempt in a way to downgrade the status of the Irish language and to downgrade the role of the Irish language in our educational system and the amount of attention that should be given to it within our educational system.

The first thing I should like to say is that nothing could be further from my mind. This amendment, as I hope to explain, is not designed to downgrade the Irish language, or to reduce its role or its importance in the educational system, but to make it an integral part of the Bill instead of keeping it in a little ghetto by itself in section 4. The first thing that prompted this amendment to my mind was a certain amount of confusion for which my own lack of understanding of parliamentary terminology is responsible. It might also be put down to ambiguities in drafting.

This confusion can be observed in the little statement to the side of section 3 in the Bill describing the various functions set out in section 3 as "general functions". When we turn over the page and look at section 4 we find that the section dealing with the Irish language is described as a "general duty". The difficulty in distinguishing between the general function and a general duty is further added to if we go back to section 1 and note that in subsection (1) of the section:

"functions" includes powers and duties;

If the word "functions" includes powers and duties, why separate them in this peculiar way? It seems to me that the "ghettoisation", if I can so describe it, of the whole Irish language question in section 4 is not at all helpful and will not even begin to have the effect that the Minister obviously wants it to have. In the discussion on an earlier amendment—the amendment connected with the possible appointment of students to become members of An tÚdarás— the Minister said he was not in favour of empty gestures being made. In my opinion very few gestures could be emptier than the one made in section 4.

Section 4 seems to give the impression that there is some fear that the Authority will ignore the claims of the Irish language in the way they go about their business. There is the further implication that this section had to be put in in order to make sure that the Authority would not ignore their responsibilities towards the Irish language. I put it to the Minister and the House that if, through any chance, the Authority were shown to be remiss in exercising their responsibilities towards the Irish language a section such as this will not make any difference to the way the Authority go about doing their job.

There is an even more serious underlying problem here if we think about what Acts of the Oireachtas are designed to do. Acts of the Oireachtas are legislative instruments but—I am sure Senator Kelly and others will back me up on this point—they do not seem to be the right place for cliché-ridden rhetorical statements about the Irish language. Many of them contain statements which have, to many people in both Houses of the Oireachtas and outside them, the unmistakable air of hypocrisy. I am not laying any personal accusations in connection with this. In fact if anybody is to be accused of hypocrisy we ought to stand in the front line ourselves. It goes almost without saying that phrases like "the national aims" or "the national culture" are phrases that have come to be associated in the public mind with the smell of death or with the smell of some sort of public hypocrisy.

It was my intention in this amendment—and it will be my intention in any subsequent amendment I introduce on the same lines—to try and pare down the language used. If any statement about the Irish language has to be included in the Bill—and I am not at all convinced of this—it should be a common-sense one shorn of shoddy rhetoric and not couched in the sort of language that will alienate many ordinary people. It is true to say that the majority of people in this country have no wish to see the Irish language die. What brought this home very forcibly to me was the failure of the attempt, at the last general election, to make the Irish language an election issue. I do not think there is enough support for this among the Irish people as a whole to make it an issue but there is a widespread uneasiness in people's minds when they correlate what they know to be the actual situation of the Irish language with what they also know to be the official policy on it. The greatest single failing in official policy in this regard is, as I have said on the Second Stage debate, that we have over and over again tended to make a total identification between Irish and education.

The revival of Irish is obviously first of all a motivation problem and only secondly an education problem. This does not mean to say that its educational aspects can be ignored, far from it. Much of our policy, expressed on all sides of each House of the Oireachtas, has been devoted to the illusion that, as far as the revival of Irish is concerned, the education system will do the job for us and that none of us will have to worry about it so long as it is in a strong position in the schools and universities.

It is remiss of the Minister to blame, as he blamed in his Second Reading speech, the universities for not having played their full part in the revival of the Irish language. However true that statement may be, it is equally true to say that none of us has played his part in its revival. It is grossly unfair either to single out the universities for special condemnation in this regard or to attempt to saddle them in a Bill such as this with a responsibility if we are not prepared to undertake such a responsibility ourselves. I am not at all happy with the wording of section 4 and I am not satisfied either with the wording of the amendment I have introduced.

I would appeal for an end to totalism on the subject of the Irish language. While I am not against declarations of intent and so on, we must be realistic in our assessment of the place of the Irish language in our educational system and of the role of the educational system in the revival of the Irish language. For this reason I have suggested that the obligations of the Authority in respect of the Irish language should, more properly, have been inserted in section 3, rather than placed in a separate section, section 4, where it lives in a little ghetto devoid of life and sustenance. I believe that by shortening the language used and putting it in under the general functions of the Authority would have the effect of putting it into proportion and of strengthening, if anything, the responsibility of the Authority towards the Irish language generally.

I should like to support this amendment for the reasons given by Senator Horgan. In putting forward an amendment of this kind we are possibly open to misinterpretation, but Senator Horgan has put the point very clearly. It is illogical to leave in section 4 as it stands at present. If one looks at the definitions under section 1 one can see that "functions" includes powers and duties. Under section 3 we have "general functions" and under section 4 "general duty with respect to national aims". If this had real meaning there might be some reason for having it in a separate section, but it does not have such a meaning. It is quite an illogical framing.

In transferring this "general duty with respect to national aims" to "general functions"—since it has the same meaning under the Bill—we are, in fact, tightening up the language used. We are leaving out the loose language, which I find both meaningless and rather abhorrent in this context, of "shall bear constantly in mind" and "endeavour"— tightening up the wording of the section itself and putting it appropriately with the "general functions". If it is to be more than a general function, which would be interpreted as including powers and duties, surely it must be worded in a different manner to which it is worded under section 4 of the present Bill?

Aontaím le cuid mhaith dá n-abrann an tSeanadóir Ó hOrgáin, ach ní dóigh liom gur mhór an tairbhe dúinn dá ndéanfaí an Bille a leasú sa tslí a mholann sé.

Baineann chuile shórt béaloidis agus chuile shórt seandálaoíchta agus cúrsaí den saghas sin leis an oideachas agus sa mhéid a bhaineann siad leis an oideachas is cúram an Údaráis seo iad. Ach ní cuid den oideachas ceist athbheochan na teanga. Ba chóir dúinn an dá rud a choinneáil óna chéile agus gan iad a mheascadh. Tá a ndhóithin le déanamh ag an Údarás cheana féin, nó beidh, chomh lua agus a chuirfear ar bhun é. Beidh a ndóithin le déanamh acu gan bacadh leis an cheist seo.

Ní dóigh liom go mba chóir dúinn an t-ualach bhreise sin a chur orthu agus níl a fhios agam go cruinn cén chaoi a d'fhéadfaidís an dualgas nua seo a chomhlíonadh. Cinnte, tá an dualgas ann cheana féin in alt a 4. Tá sé ann, ach an chaoi a bhfuil sé ann, tá sé ginearálta go leor agus ní féidir liomsa aon rud cruinn nó aon rud coincréiteach a fheiceál in alt a 4, a chuirfeadh ualach thar cuimse ar an Údarás. Ach, má cuirtear isteach in alt a 3 é, beidh ualach ar an Údarás chomh maith leis na dualgasaí eile atá ar an Údarás cheana féin.

Ní dóigh liom go mba chóir dúinn sa Bhille seo ach súil a choinneáil ar an Ghaeilge. Ní h-aon dochar é an moladh a bheith déanta againn go mba chóir don Údarás an Ghaeilge a choinneáil ar a nintinn. Ach an Ghaeilge a sháitheadh isteach anseo in alt a 3, mar chuid de fheadhmeanna ginearálta an Údaráis forbairt na Gaeilge a chur chun chinn, ba bhotún é sin a dhéanamh, dar liomsa ar aon nós.

Nuair adeirim sin ní ghá dhom a rá nach bhfuil mé i gcoinne An Údarás a bheith cúramach faoi cheist na Gaeilge, ach ní dóigh liom go mba chóir dúinn an t-ualach breise sin a chur ar an Údarás agus an t-ualach mór atá orthu cheana féin chun an tArd-Oideachais féin a chur chun chinn. Is leor don Údarás an t-ualach atá air cheana féin.

Pé rud a bhí le rá agam faoi cheist na Gaeilge sa mBille seo, do dheineas é an lá faoi dheireadh nuair a bhí an Bille á phlé againn. Ní féidir liom a thuiscint cad chuige an leasú seo ar aon chor mar ceapaim gur fearr go mór alt faoi leith a bheith sa Bhille faoi cheist na Gaeilge, agus gur ceart féachaint chuige go ndéanfaidh an tÚdarás a ndícheall chun an Ghaeilge a chur ar aghaidh agus chun cultúr na tíre a chur chun chinn chomh maith. Dá nglacaimís leis an leasú seo ní bheadh ceist na Gaeilge ach ina chuid d'alt 3, agus is dóigh liom gur ceart áit faoi leith a thúirt don Ghaeilge sa Bhille seo. Sin é an rud atá á dhéanamh ag an Aire nuair a chuireann sé alt a 4 ann, ag túirt aire faoi leith do cheist na Gaeilge.

Dúirt duine éigin nach ceart milleán a chur ar na hollscoileanna faoi cheist na Gaeilge. Is dóigh liomsa gur ceart agus do rinne mé féin amhlaidh an lá faoi dheireadh leis. Deirim arís nár dhein na hollscoileanna agus na hinstitúidí ardléinn a gcuid ar aon chor ar son na teanga. Cibé dream oideachais a rinne aon rud ar son na Gaeilge, b'iad bunscoileanna na tíre agus bunmhúinteoirí na hÉireann a rinne é, agus tá súil agam anois go dtógfaidh na dreamanna agus na h-institúid ard léinn an cúram orthu féin anois.

Ní thig leis an ngobadán an dá thrá a fhreastail, agus baineann deacrachtaí móra leis na h-ollscoileanna. Mar is eól don Seanadóir Bean Uí Eachthéirn baineann deacrachtaí móra leis na h-ollscoileanna ó thaobh foirne de. Níl sé chomh furasta sin foireann a earcú atá feiliúnach chun ábhair a mhúineadh agus a theagasc ar ard-leibhéil. Níl sé furasta ar chor ar bith, agus má tá dualgas ar dhuine thairis sin agus lena hais sin daoine a earcú go bhfuil Gaeilge acu agus iad in ann a gcuid ábhar fhéin a theagasc trí Ghaeilge beidh sé indéanta amach is amach ollscoileanna de cibé shórt ar bith a choinneáil ar siúl sa tír seo. Ba chóir dúinn sin a admháil go macánta agus gan bheith ag cur ina luí ar dhaoine leis an mbéal bán seo go bhfuil an dá chuspóir ag dul le chéile go h-éasca. Ní ghabhann siad go h-éasca le chéile agus ba chóir dúinn sin a admháil.

Aontaím leis an Seanadóir Ó Ceallaigh agus le Seanadóir Bean Uí Eachthéirn gur chóir ceist na teanga a choimeád in altán faoi leith agus gur fearr mar sin é.

When I read this amendment, I went back and read Senator Horgan's speech on the Second Reading. Of course, I have no doubt that both Senator Horgan and Senator Robinson, who mentioned the same thing, need not worry about being misinterpreted. Certainly, I should not misinterpreted the intention behind the amendment. Senator Horgan said that it is not an attempt to downgrade the status of the Irish language. I should not even think that it was. On his part, it is a genuine attempt to fit into some sort of perspective something with which we all have some difficulty.

However, I spoke on this on the Second Reading and I am inclined to agree with both Senator Horgan and Senator Robinson. I said that I did not consider the description to be adequate, but that I could not think of any better way of putting into words the question of what is our national philosophy. A couple of years ago I remember a council, of which I am a member, spending several meetings trying to get this sort of thing down on paper. After a few meetings, we came to the conclusion that we would probably be out all night, and that by the time we had finished, we would have said so much that the majority of people would not even bother to read it.

However, the difficulty in relation to this particular sphere of national life is that one does not want to appear in any way to be giving lip service. On the other hand, one wants to fulfil one's duty in the national sense. This is distinct and separate from whether it is the Higher Education Authority, or any other authority. One of the reasons why I think that it should be separate is because Ireland is a country which has suffered almost obliteration of both culture and language, and we should have a special regard in national institutions for this particular aspect of our national philosophy. Therefore, I think that it should be set out as a special duty or an obligation to the nation, and not as an educational obligation or function, as such.

This should be the sort of provision that is common to all institutions. Government Department, semi-State bodies, educational institutions, religious and other institutions. I agree with Senator Horgan that it is almost entirely a question of motivation, of willingness and of the understanding of a sense of identity. If it was included as is proposed in the amendment under section 3, it would create some confusion. The general functions set out in section 3 are functions which would be in particular to the Higher Education Authority as such. They could be described as functions which the Authority could be called upon to try to live up to. I do not know if one could describe them as statutory or not, but they would be more in that line as part of the special functions of the Authority that we are setting up.

The obligation in relation to national culture and to our own language is one which I would put in an entirely different category. I do not want to see it ever as being in the category of something that someone is told that he has to do. Senator Horgan and I think alike in this respect. It should be more in the nature of a reminder. Senator Robinson does not like the words "bear constantly in mind" but nevertheless it does convey what is intended. The Authority and other authorities should be enjoined to bear constantly in mind what are national obligations. They are described here as a general duty in respect of national aims.

We must get away from the idea that a sense of identity can be inspired through compulsion. It cannot be done. It is a matter of the will of the people concerned and a matter of the motivation and of the feeling of people in general. I would prefer to see this as a separate section so as to get away from the idea that this is part of a law that must be carried out. It is much better if one tries to convey the idea that the ground that has to be won back in the sphere of the spirit is a question of identity, of culture and of language which is so closely entwined in all of these.

I would prefer to see this as a separate section. If somebody can provide, at some stage, a better description, I certainly would welcome it on some of the bodies on which I am a member at the present time. If somebody can produce a better description of this it will not upset people, as was suggested by Senator Horgan. It is essential that national legislation should included a separate section of this kind, which is more of an encouragement, of an exhortation than of a law that must be carried out. Because of this I should prefer not to see this amendment being pressed.

An lá faoi dheireadh nuair a bhíomar ag caint ar an mBille seo dúirt mé gur cheap mé go raibh alt a 4 ró-lag. Is dóigh liomsa gur gá béim ar leith a leagadh ar athbeochain na Gaeilge ins na h-ollscoileanna. Aontaím go mór leis an méid adúirt an chuid is mó de na Seanadóirí faoi dea-thoil a bheith ag teastáil. An lá faoi dheireadh rinne mé tagairt do Choláiste na hOllscoile i nGaillimh agus dúirt mé, dar liomsa, go raibh difríocht mhór idir an caoi a caitheadh leis an Ghaeilge ansin agus an caoi a caitheadh léi sna h-ollscoileanna eile. Is dóigh liom go raibh dea-thoil i gceist ansin. Aontaím leis an Seanadóir Ó Ceallaigh go raibh agus go bhfuil deacractaí maidir le múinteoirí agus ollúna a fháil i gcuid de na dháimheanna ach mar sin fhéin bhí an dea-thoil ann; agus is dóigh liom go bhfuil an dea-thoil ann fós agus d'éirigh leo cuid mhaith a dhéanamh. Aontaím leis na Seanadóirí adeir gurb í an dea-thoil i leith an Gaeilge, an tuiscint don aidhm náisiúnta seo an príomh-rud. Agus mé ag tagairt do na rudaí seo ní do chúrsaí múinteoreachta amháin atá mé ag tagairt; is don spioraid ar fad a bhíonn i gcoláiste nó in áit atáim ag tagairt.

B'fhearr liomsa córas oideachais a thabharfadh 50 faoin gcéad do na daoine dúinn a bhéadh ar a gcumas an Ghaeilge a labhairt agus iad toilteanach í a labhairt, ná córas a thabharfadh 80 nó 90 faoin gcéad dúinn a bheadh ar a gcumas an Ghaeilge a labhairt ach gur cuma leo fúithi. Daoine a dhéineann Gaeilge mar mhaithe le h-éirí i scrúdú agus mar sin de agus a dhéineann dearmad uirthi ina dhiaidh sin, ní dóigh liom gurb é sin an rud atá ag teastáil.

An lá faoi dheireach bhí mé ag argóint gur ceart é seo a dhéanamh níos láidre ach ní raibh i gceist agam go mbéadh aon duine ag iarraidh an athbeochaint a bhrú ar aghaidh. Ní féidir rud mar seo a bhrú isteach ar lucht iolscoile. Caithfimid iarraidh orthu an aidhm náisiúnta seo a chomhlíonadh chomh fada agus is féidir leo.

Tá an scéal mar an gcéanna leis na daltaí scoile agus tá sé á bhrú isteach orthu le 50 bliain anuas agus gan tairbhe ar bith á bhaint as.

Sin ceist eile.

Sin ceist eile i gceart. Féach go bhfuil an ceist réitithe agat agus ag an Seanadóir Brugha anois, agus ní gá dúinn a thuilleadh antropeolaí as Chicago; tig linn é a scaoileadh abhaile arís.

Sin ceann de na rudaí a luaigh mé go minic go raibh barraíocht á éileamh againn óna páistí sna bunscoileanna agus nach ndearna na hollscoileanna oiread agus ba cheart dóibh a dhéanamh.

Senators Horgan and Robinson appear to be worried that what they said might be misinterpreted or misrepresented. I can assure them that, so far as I am concerned, I do not misrepresent people. One this particular subject I am known to be enthusiastically in favour of the revival of the language. I am much more concerned with having more friends for the language than in creating situations which instead might produce the opposite affect.

The purpose of the amendment is to transfer to section 3 as the general function in an abridged form the general duty with respect to the national aims which are set out in section 4 of the Bill. When replying to the debate on the Second Reading of the Bill I said that I have put in this section as a separate section basically because I wanted to emphasise very particularly our concern with the restoration of the language as I believe that it is the most important part of our cultural heritage. There are, of course, further aspects of our national culture and the section charges An tÚdarás with the duty of endeavouring to promote the attainment of the national aims in relation both to the restoration of the Irish language and the preservation and development of the national culture.

I am of the opinion that this matter is of such fundamental national importance that it merits a separate section in the Bill. I should like to remind the House that it relates to the all over functions given to An tÚdarás, not only to the general functions which are mentioned in section 3. It has been claimed here that there has been too close a link between education and the revival of the language. This is true to a certain extent. On the other hand, it should be obvious that we could not hope to revive the language unless the young people were taught it. For that reason there is bound to be a link between the language and the educational system.

We relied too much for the revival of the language on the young children attending the primary schools. If we note that it is only in recent times that the vast majority of our young people have an opportunity of obtaining post-primary education I think it will be understandable now why we had not the success for which those people who, in all good faith originated this policy, had hoped for.

Ó thaobh na n-ollscoileanna, ní thig liomsa leithscéal ar bith a ghabháil faoin méid adúirt mé. Sílim cions go raibh áit faoi leith acu sa tír agus imeasc na ndaoine, gur treoirithe iad ní amháin i gcúrsaí teagaisc ach i gcúrsaí na tíre go ginearálta. Sílim dá réir sin go dtiocfadh leo níos mó a dhéanamh ná mar a bhí déanta acu.

Tuigim go maith go bhfuil na deacrachtaí ann. Tá sin soiléir agus tá sé soiléir nach bhfuil aon réiteach iontach furasta ann fá dtaobh den cheist seo. Ach tá barúil agam go dtiocfaidh leis na hollscoileanna níos mó a dhéanamh agus tá súil agam as na comhráití atá ar siúl agam faoi láthair leis na hoidí agus leis na hollúna ins na hollscoilleanna go dtiocfaidh linn teacht ar dhóigh níos feari chun teacht i gcabhair ar cheist na Gaeilge ná mar a rinneadh cheana.

Mar adúirt mé ní chóir a rá nach bhfuil deacrachtaí ann. Tá siad ann. Tá siad an-mhór ach i ngné ar bith den tsaol seo dá mbéimís ag cur na deacrachtaí roimh achan rud, ní shílim go ndeanfaimís rud ar bith. Agus ar an ábhar sin, sílim ag an am seo den tsaol gurbh fhiú dúinn dearcadh úr a bheith againn go mór-mhór ins na hollscoileanna i dtaobh cheist na Gaeilge agus go dtiocfadh linn ins an dóigh sin cuidiú leis an obair atá á dhéanamh in sna bunscoileanna, in sna meánscoileanna agus in sna gairmscoileanna leis na blianta. Ní dóigh liom go bhfuil aon rud eile a thig liom a rá fá dtaobh den cheist seo ach amháin gur mhínigh mé cad chuige a chuir mé an t-alt seo ann féin, gur shíl mé go raibh ceist athbheochan na Gaeilge chomh tábhachtach sin, i leith saol an náisiúin ar fad go raibh sé riachtanach go mbeadh sé le feiceáil sa Bhille féin go rabhamar ag smaoineamh ar cheist na Gaeilge agus, mar adúirt an Seanadóir Ruairí Brugha anseo, go rabhamar, ní ag cur d'fhiachaibh ar fad ar na hollscoileanna rud a dhéanamh ach ag míniú dóibhthe nó ag iarraidh orth cuidiú níos fearr a thúirt ná mar a rinne siad cheana, agus sílim go dtiocfaidh tairbhe níos fearr as sin ná as dóigh ar bith eile a thiocfaidh linn smaoineamh air.

Ba mhaith liom cúpla focal a rá ar an alt seo agus ar an leasú seo. Bhí mé i mbunscoil, i meánscoil agus in ollscoil sa tír seo agus do dhein mé roinnt Gaeilge iontu, ach níor chuir mé suim mhór sa teanga mar ní raibh mórán den saol nó ní raibh morán smaoimimh in sna cúrsaí nó in sna ranganna agam.

Ach ansin chuaigh mé go dtí Glascú ag obair agus bhuail mé le Gaeilgeoirí na hAlban agus le Gaeilgeoirí as Tír Chonaill agus chualas an teanga á labhairt mar ghnáth-theanga ag na daoine sin. Ansin músclaíodh suim sa teanga ionam agus rinne mé mo dhícheall ina dhiaidh sin an teanga a labhairt.

The point I wish to make is one that has already been made by Senator Horgan and Senator Brugha. It is not a question of forcing people to learn Irish. I remember debating with another Irish friend who was working in Scotland with me when we visited the islands whether the policy of neglect or repression of the Gaelic language in Scotland as exemplified by the British Government had been more or less successful in preserving the language than our policy of compulsion in this country. There is a definite argument there. It is difficult to say which has been the more successful. Our policy has not been very successful. Senators Brugha and Horgan have hit the nail on the head when they emphasised that it is a question of motivation. I feel that the carrot in this case is far more effective than the stick.

I was impressed by what Senator Horgan said and how he said it, He is treading on very delicate ground and it is pleasant to see that the other Senators and the Minister have taken him up in the way in which, I think, he intended his remarks to be taken up. I dislike the language of section 4. It is defeatist in its tone. I realise it is difficult to put this in an objective way without treading on various people's toes. I should like to emphasise the view that what we should be doing and what the Department should be doing is to make the language, and the culture and the history and the whole of our heritage which makes up our identity as attractive as possible to the school children and to everybody else. The universities have to play their part in this role.

I should like to mention one more point. This is the courses given by the late Professor Mairtín Ó Caidhin in Trinity College. He gave beginners' courses in Irish which were not part of the regular curriculum. The news got round that these were good, interesting courses and all sorts of unusual people attended them. For example, in the mathematics department we have three American graduates. One of them is a very fluent speaker of Connemara Irish. He has got completely wrapped up in the language here and it is an interesting reversal of the normal trend of Irish scientists going to America and staying there for the higher pay. He is an American scientist who has come here and I would be prepared to bet a large sum of money that he will never go back to America. He will stay here because he appreciates our national heritage.

Another of the three Americans is a good Irish speaker and rapidly improving. The third one is just about to start and is all set to go to the Aran Islands in a fortnight's time. This was all from Mairtín Ó Caidhin's classes which were not compulsory, which were lively and good fun. The emphasis was on the spoken tongue as put over by one of our recent outstanding Irish literary figures who had his own personal approach. I think that this is the sort of thing that we should emphasise in our language teaching in the university, in our work all over the country, that the problem is one of ensuring that the language and all associated with it music, poetry, history, are put forward in the most attractive and appealing way possible. That is the way to encourage the people to interest themselves in what is their own language.

Ba mhaith liom ceist a chur ar an Aire. An mbeadh sé toilteanach gan duine ar bith a chur ar an Údarás seo seachas duine a bheadh toilteanach, agus go mbeadh sé ar a chumas gnó an Údaráis a dhéanamh tré Ghaeilge? An mbeadh sé toilteanach é sin a dhéanamh?

B'ionann sin agus a fiafraí dhíom an gcuirfinn ar gach ball den Údarás a rá raibh sé ag aontú le gach cuid den Bhille.

Ní hea. Séard atá i gceist agam ná é seo. Séard atá ag cur isteach ar an Ghaeilge dar liomsa ná an cur-i-gcéill atá ag dul thart sa tír seo le leath-chéad blian anuas—agus ní oraibhse amháin atá an locht ach is sibhse is mó atá lochtach dar liomsa— an cur-i-gcéill a thagas ó Bhaile Átha Cliath agus ó lucht na jobannaí móra. Nuair a chloiseann muintir na Gaeltachta lucht na jobannaí móra ag praetseáil dóibh faoin Ghaeilge, agus faoí chomh riachtanach atá sé an Gaeilge a chaomhnú agus a shábháil agus a leathnú agus a fhorbairt agus a athbeochan, nuair a thugann siad faoi ndeara annsin go bhfuil daoine i mBaile Átha Cliath atá fostaithe mar bhainisteoirí, mar rúnaithe, mar chathaoirligh, agus mar bhaill de gach coimisiún agus gach bord agus go bhfuil Airí ann nach bhfuil focal Gaeilge acu agus nach raibh focal Gaeilge acu riamh, go raibh Taoisigh againn nach raibh ach beagán Gaeilge acu, agus go bhfuil Bille againn inniu atá ag bunú Údarás i leith an ardoideachais agus go bhfuil alt sa Bhille seo a thugann tábhacht faoi leith don Ghaeilge—nuair a chloiseann muintir na Gaeltachtaésin, nó nuair a chloiseann gná-mhuintir na tíre é sin agus nuair a fheiceann siad é sin, deireann siad leo fhéin: "Níl ann ach ráiméis, ráiméis agus seafóid atá ionaibh" agus sin é an fáth dar liomsa—caithfimíd an cheist a chur ar an bhfear úd as Chicago, b'fhéidir go mbeadh eolas níos fearr aigesin—go bhfuil teipithe ar ghluaiseacht na Gaeilge le leath-chéad bliain anuas. Ní mise a bheadh ag moladh don Teach seo rud mí-réasunta a dhéanamh; ní mise a bheadh ag moladh nach gcuirfimís ach Gaeilgeoirí ar an Údarás seo. Bheadh sé sin mí-réasunta, ach go dtí go mbeidh Aire againn agus Rialtas againn atá toilteanach teaspáint do mhuintir na tíre go bhfuilimíd dáiríre faoin Ghaeilge agus go bhfuilimíd toilteanach sinn fhéin a eagrú agus an lámh láidir a imirt orainn fhéin, teipfidh ar ghluaiseacht na Gaeilge agus teipfidh go deo uirthi.

Bhí an díospóireacht seo ag dul ar aghaidh go maith go dtí gur labhair an Seanadóir Ó Ceallaigh don uair dheiridh agus thosnaigh sé ag cur na bhfocal sin "cur-i-gcéill" i leith achan duine. Chuir sé ceist ormsa an mbéinn sásta duine a cur ar an Údarás mura raibh sé sásta forbairt a dhéanamh de réir alt a 4 anseo. Is é seo an freagra a thug mé air. Dá mbeadh orm iarraidh ar achan duine a rachadh ar an Údarás a rá liom go raibh sé sásta le gach rud a bhí sa Bhille ar fad ní raibh fhios agam an dtiocfadh liom Údarás ar bith a fháil.

Ba mhaith liom seo a rá leis. Labhair an Seanadóir fá dtaobh de mhuintir na Gaeltachta agus déarfainn go bhfuil oiread eolais agamsa ar mhuintir na Gaeltachta is atá aige. Tig liom seo a rá fá dtaobh den am a raibh mé fhéin mar Aire na Gaeltachta agus Rúnaí Parlaiminte do Roinn na Gaeltachta. Chuir mé déantúisí ar bun go mór-mhór thuas i dTír Chonaill, cúpla ceann mór, agus rinne mé forbairt mhór ar chuid mhaith díobtha, agus sul a raibh mé réidh leis bhí lucht na Gaeltachta a bhí imithe thar lear go Glascú agus go dtí háiteachta eile ag teacht ar ais go Tír Chonaill le obair a fháil. Níl a fhios agam cé leis a bhfuil sé ag caitheamh na bhfocal "cur-i-gcéill" ach tig leis a bheith cinnte nach féidir leis é a chur im leith ar chor ar bith.

Ba mhaith liom mo leithscéal a ghabháil leis an Aire mar cheap sé gur chuige fhéin a dhírigh mé a ndúirt mé. Ní h-ea ar chor ar bith agus tá a fhios agam go mhaith go bhfuil suim dáiríre aige sa Ghaeilge. Ach níil ag an Rialtas, ná níl ag an "Establishment" sa tír seo, agus ní raibh riamh; agus go dtí go dtagann an lá go seasann Aire éigin—is cuma liom cén Aire: Aire Oideachais nó cibé Aire eile—ar a bhonnaibh fhéin agus go n-abrann sé "no messing as seo amach, as seo amach déanfar an gnó trí Ghaeilge agus an gnó uilig", go dtí go dtagann an lá sin ní dóigh liomsa go bhfeicfidh muintir na tíre seo ach cur-i-gcéill i ngach a bhaineann leis an Ghaeilge agus i ngach a n-abrann an Rialtas fúithí.

Ní aontáim ar fad leis an Seanadóir Ó Ceallaigh ach téim cuid mhaith den slí leis. Ní dóigh liom gur maith an rud é d'Aire ar bith a rá: "Déanfar an gnó go léir tré Ghaeilge". Is an dea-shompla atá ag teastáil; teastaíonn uainn daoineatá sásta an Ghaeilge a úsáid agus nach bhfuil náire orthu. Measaim gurb é an dochar is mó a deineadh don teanga daoine ag gríosú daoine eile Gaeilge a úsáid agus gan í á h-úsáid acu féin agus daoine ag déanamh cúrsa léinn, faoi mar adúras ar an Dara Céim, chun post d'fháil nuair nach raibh Gaeilge ag teastáil sa phost sin. Is rudaí iad seo go mba cóir dúinn a cheartú, ach is féidir dul ró-fhada. Is feidir deachtóireacht a bhunú agus daoine a chasadh in aghaidh na Gaeilge. Aontaím leis an Seanadóir Ó Ceallaigh go bhfuil dea-shompla ag teastáil sa tír seo ní amháin ó Airí Rialtais ach ó gach duine go bhfuil post ard-údarásach aige i ngach sórt eagraíocht sa tír. Sin an rud atá ag teastáil ach ní féidir é sin a fháil tré éigéantacht ach tré mhúscailt agus tré dea-shompla.

I am glad to say that the discussion, if it has done nothing else, has had the effect of clearing my mind to a certain extent. Senator Brugha's speech was largely instrumental in this because with him I agree that my amendment—and this is one of the reasons why I was dissatisfied with it myself—looked rather peculiar in the company in which it was inserted. This leads us to the basic question: is it the function of an Act of the Oireachtas to include a section or sections which have no legislative effect and which cannot be legislatively enforced? If it is the intention of the Government to introduce, in this Bill, something which will be enforceable—and I think the subject matter of Bills should be enforceable— then it seems to me that the reference to the Irish language has to come under section 3.

On the other hand, we have the statements of both Senator Brugha and the Minister for Education to the effect that it is not intended here to put the Authority under any detailed, specific obligation. The words Senator Brugha used were that section 4 was necessary as a sort of encouragement, as a reminder. I am just asking if it is the function of the Oireachtas to enact forms of encouragement, forms of reminder. Are we in the area of legislation or are we in the area of pious aspiration? It seems to me that this sort of sentiment finds its best expression at the constitutional level of a country not in its legislative programme and that a Bill of the Oireachtas, of the Legislature generally, can be tested best against the provisions of the Constitution which is the country's basic law rather than against internal sections which have little or no legislative effect.

Secondly, if it is held that it is, in fact, the function of the Oireachtas and can be made to be the function of the Oireachtas to introduce what are really no more than aspirations, reminders and forms of encouragement into a Bill, then I would hold very strongly again with Senator Brugha that the wording we have in section 4 is far from adequate, and I promise him to do my best to produce a better one at a later stage.

If there is one thing the people reject it is compulsion in relation to the Irish language. We shall have a better chance of getting results if we give encouragement to them as is envisaged in section 4. The Department of Agriculture has been very successful in the BTE scheme which worked very well. It was not compulsory. The Minister did have a big stick but the scheme was not compulsory. People were free to go and have their cattle tested if they wished.

We must get away from any suggestion of compulsion in regard to the Irish language. We are bound to get better results by not having a specific provision in that regard written into a Bill. The proposers want something other than compulsion, and I agree that to introduce compulsion into this Bill would be fatal. Section 4 deals adequately with the question and it is a method which I feel will get results.

Perhaps I could clear the air a little for Senator Horgan if I referred to the experience in relation to the 1960 Broadcasting Act which, though not worded exactly the same, is somewhat similar. There may have been a misinterpretation of the meaning of that section but it was cleared up in the mid-1960's. The effect of the interpretation of the section was to create an atmosphere in that organisation of non-compulsion and of encouragement The wording used by the Authority in a statement issued to the staff in 1966 was: "the responsibility to cherish the national language as one of the parts of our identity."

In that statement, which incidentally the Senator might have got himself, the Authority emphasised that no member of the staff need have any fears for his or her position within the organisation if he or she did not have a knowledge of Irish. It went on to say, however, that a knowledge of the language could be useful in the performance of some of the programmes and that any member of the staff who wished to acquire it would be facilitated. This policy has continued ever since.

It is in that context—the Minister is in a better position to speak on it— that this section is included. It is in the context of drawing attention to responsibility. The words which I underlined here when I was studying the Bill are: "it shall endeavour". Nobody can measure what that means. You cannot take a person to court and ask: "Did you or did you not endeavour?" It is an effort of will; specifically I would say it is an effort of goodwill. It is not a sort of set of traffic lights which says "stop" or "go". It is an indication of the way in which one would hope that all authorities of this kind would look at the question to which I referred earlier, the question of recovering ground that has been lost in this country over centuries in relation not alone to language but to culture and identity.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 7:

To delete paragraph (e), lines 43 and 44, and substitute

"(e) encouraging the use of democratic methods in the government of institutions of higher education.”

I put forward this amendment because, as I said on Second Reading, the wording of section 3, paragraph (e) irritated me quite a bit partly because I did not like the word “democratisation” for itself and partly because I felt that the paragraph did not really convey the meaning that was intended. The subsection is promoting the democratisation of the structure of higher education. I distinguish in my mind between the structure of higher education as a whole and the working of the institution that forms part of that structure. I should think the structure of higher education would be democratic if everybody in the country had an equal right to avail himself of higher education and there was a pattern amongst institutions of higher education which conformed with the democratic nature of the country.

The previous subsection guarantees equality, or at least it requires An tÚdarás to promote equality of opportunity in higher education. That looks after the democratic right of everybody in the country to an equal opportunity to a higher education. It does not, if course, affect the way in which the institutions for higher education are dealt with. Neither does subsection (2) as it stands. It is possible to have a completely democratic structure of higher education but to have a very undemocratic method of government of the higher education institutions.

Senator Kelly on Second Reading mentioned instances in which higher education institutions in this country are at a disadvantage in relation to the less than democratic methods of government in certain instances. It is very important that the Higher Education Authority should have the function of seeing as far as possible that higher education institutions will be democratically governed. If we take it that subsection (d) looks after the democratic right of people to an opportunity in higher education, then we should go one step further and think about the method of government of these institutions and change this subsection accordingly. I put forward this amendment, substituting for this subsection the words “encouraging the use of democratic methods in the government of institutions of higher education”.

The words "promoting the democratisation of the structure of higher education" were put in on Committee Stage of the Bill in the Dáil, if I remember correctly, at the insistence of certain Members. I have no objection to the principle that is there, but, like Senator Jessop, I am not at all happy about the phrasing of it. I do not like the word "democratisation". What he suggests is "encouraging the use of democratic methods in the government of institutions of higher education". My interpretation of that is that it means promoting the democratisation of the structure of higher education. If the Minister will accept it, the wording that Senator Jessop has suggested in the amendment would be a more elegant way of putting it than the way in which it has been presented before.

We are not trying to take out of this section what has been put in on Committee Stage in the Dáil, except to change the wording and to bring into it a more general, ordinary use of the English language.

When I was speaking on the Second Stage I welcomed this provision in the Bill as introduced in the Dáil. At that stage I was absolutely clear in my own mind as to what democratisation of the structure of higher education meant. I felt that it meant that, as regards the educational institutions which were part of higher education, the Authority would have a function to encourage in them a democratic form of government, a form of government in which all members of the education community concerned, whether staff or students, would have some say in the management of the educational institutions.

I was rather shocked to see in the OECD Observer, No. 52, June, 1971, which was circulated to Members of the House, an article on French education. I saw a heading on page 35 “Democratisation and Modernisation of French Education” and, naturally, I read this with some interest. Under the heading “Democratisation” no reference whatsoever was made to the structure of government in the institutions and the part which students and staff might play. What “democratisation” seemed to mean in this article was, as Senator Jessop has mentioned, more the idea at present in paragraph (d) of section 3 in this Bill. It was concerned with the promotion of the attainment of equality of opportunity in higher education. It is, therefore, important that we are completely clear as to what we mean in paragraphs (d) and (e). We should either satisfy ourselves that when referring to paragraphs (e) we are referring to matters of government rather than the matters referred to in subsection (d), because that is certainly what has been intended both by the Dáil and the Seanad.

If Senator Jessop's amendment would help to put this more clearly, if there is a point at issue here, we should support it. The reason, as I said when speaking earlier today, is that I tended to like this word "structure" although I have reservations about "democratisation". I think the word "structure" is a useful one in that it can spread the working of the democratic idea beyond the institutions themselves. It may, in fact, help to cover all sorts of eventualities if we are looking ahead, as Senator Kelly would have us do, to a future in which goodness knows what shape and size the institutions or communities of higher education may have.

The paragraph which Senator Jessop would wish to delete by this amendment was, as Senator Belton said, accepted by me as an amendment which was proposed and fully debated in the Dáil. I accepted the amendment because I considered that it was an improvement on the Bill as originally drafted.

Senator Jessop's objections to the paragraph in its present form, as expressed by him on Second Reading of the Bill, arises mainly from his aversion to the word "democratisation." As far as I can remember, he said he would welcome a less contrived word or phrase. His amendment is, in a sense, a paraphrase of what is already there, but to my mind it does not contain the full meaning of what is already in the subsection. What interpretation is placed on it in the OECD Observer in an article on French education is hardly a matter for me. To me the democratisation of the structure of higher education connotes somewhat more than the use of democratic methods in governing of institutions of higher education. It means the acknowledgment and acceptance of democratic principles and their implementation in the organisation, control and administration of institutions. Perhaps this is drawing a fine distinction between the two versions, but I took a note of what I said in reply to the Second Stage debate. When explaining what I meant by the democratisation of education I said it was “the promoting where necessary and to the extent necessary of the democratisation of the governing bodies and boards of management of institutions, and of subsidiary bodies and committees which might be said to form part of the structure of the institution.” I am sure we all accept that as being the meaning of democratisation of education as set out in this section.

I am not quite satisfied with what the Minister has said on this point. I think the theory in the article in the OECD Observer has drawn attention to a matter that was worrying me. It is well known that in Continental countries there is full opportunity for every boy and girl to go to a university and take part in higher education. We know that first year classes in such institutions on the Continent are enormous on that account. Everybody can avail of them and prove whether or not he has the capacity to take part in this level of education. If he fails to prove that he has the required capacity then he does not go forward, but if he proves himself he goes forward. That is what is covered by the previous subsection, namely promoting the attainment of equality of opportunity in higher education.

It is also common knowledge that there is no less democratic institution anywhere than a Continental university. Every department is a pyramid and on top of that pyramid is a professor whose word cannot be questioned by anybody underneath him. The student hardly ever sees him and never has the opportunity to discuss anything with him. This is true in every respect of the structure of these institutions. You cannot infer because the system is democratic in that everybody has a right to higher education that the institutions will be democratically right. I think we should write that into the Bill.

I am not particularly wedded to my choice of words. However, the Minister might undertake to look at it again and introduce a better choice of words that would bring out the question of a democratic method of government in the institutions rather than just confining it in the words "related to the structure of higher education." If it said "related to the structure of institutions of higher education" it would be an improvement.

I have read the relevant debate in the Dáil and I quite clearly saw that Deputy Thornley had in mind the methods of governing and running the institution. He mentioned instances where this was not of a democratic pattern. I would like to have that brought out in the widening of this subsection.

I should like to intervene briefly. Without appearing to be disloyal to Deputies of my party in the Dáil who spoke in favour of the amendment which produced clause (e), I do not like this unadorned reference to democratisation either in the Bill as it stands or in Senator Jessop's proposed amendment unless we are told what "democracy" and "democratic" mean in this context. It is a notoriously porous word which can be made to contain almost any meaning. There are countries in the world whose forms of government none of us would be happy to live under but who nevertheless call themselves "democracies."

In any institution of higher education —or any institution of secondary or primary education for that matter— you are dealing with human beings who have various functions. To use the word "democracy" even in the more explicit sense that Senator Jessop asked would open the door to trouble in the future. Anyone who works in universities here knows the kind of trouble which can be provoked and the way it can get out of hand and convulse the proper work of the university. The word "democracy" can reasonably be interpreted as meaning something like one man one vote, including students. I know the people on my side when suggesting the amendment in the Dáil had not that in mind, nor does Senator Jessop mean that, but either phrase as it stands can be made to bear that meaning.

Any institution of higher education is not a fit place for the operation of a one man one vote democracy any more than a hospital is. You do not have a hospital governed in such a way that the treatment applied is determined by a head count in which a patient's vote would be equivalent to a doctor's vote. Exactly the same thing can be said of a school or university. You must naturally take into account the needs, wishes and points of view of the people you are teaching but the idea that their point of view ought in some way to have a determined value capable of being mathematically expressed and relative to the point of view of those who are trying to teach them is wrong.

I am very much in favour of the levelling out of grades within the universities and institutions of higher education. As I said on Second Stage I would not mind at all scrapping the title of professor and the rest of the flummery which traditionally goes with universities here and having all university teachers called by the same title provided that reasonable functional efficiency were possible after that had been done. For that reason I think democratisation—if I may use my own meaning for the word—is a very desirable thing so far as the staff are concerned. I do not think the sort of tyranny Senator Jessop described ever existed in Ireland nor should it be encouraged. Any tendencies towards that sort of tyranny should be checked. I know that would be the Minister's wish and it would also be the wish of the Higher Education Authority when set up.

I am not entirely happy with the unadorned word "democratisation" or "democratic" as they stand in the two documents before us. I feel that the very presence of these amendments represents something of a response to a vogue currently sweeping the world in regard to words such as "participation,""structures" and so forth. These are words which were scarcely heard, in this context, up to a few years ago. Here we are running after people outside Ireland who got movements going for reasons which were proper to themselves but have no particular relevance to Irish conditions.

This is not intended to express opposition to Senator Jessop's amendment but it is not inappropriate on Committee Stage if the Minister is either considering accepting Senator Jessop's amendment or is having second thoughts about what he did in the Dáil. My suggestion would be that the word "democracy" or "democratisation" should be sifted a little and the part of it which may legitimately and unambiguously be applied within an instituation of higher education should be singled out and installed in the Bill. The rest of it should be jettisoned. As it stands in either form—in the form in which the Minister accepted it in the Dáil, if I may say so without disloyalty to the Opposition there, or in the form Professor Jessop suggests—it seems to be a potential banner for people who have no interest in democracy.

I think it would be better to open the door now to trouble rather than to keep it shut until there is an explosion. I would like to support the Minister in this matter and to make one suggestion for his attention and particularly the attention of An tÚdarás. In the analysis published at the end of the Vatican Council it was frequently stated that the Council seemed to have been all about bishops and laity and had forgotten completely about the priesthood. It seems to me that when we talk about democratisation of the structures of higher education we are all too often talking about chancellors and students, and rarely ever about lecturers, who are in some ways more deprived than the students they are teaching. I should like to support the Minister in this.

I am sure that An tÚdarás will take into consideration everything that has been said here on each aspect of the Bill. I should like to point out that in respect of the functions of promoting the democratisation of the structure of higher education, we should have to interpret the word "democracy" here in the form in which we regard as democracy.

Senator Jessop referred to the fact that everyone in the continental countries had an opportunity of going forward to higher education. In some countries, however, only one out of three students can get the type of post-primary education which would lead him to a university. Very often, only about two out of 20 pass the university entrance examination. In those circumstances, we could hardly maintain that every student has free entry to higher education.

Referring to the amendment, the words used by Senator Jessop do not quite connote the extent of what I have in mind. I have already expressed my views on this and for that reason I cannot accept the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 8:

To add to the section the following paragraph:

"(f) preparing and publishing forecasts of probable employment opportunity for students entering various branches of higher education.”

I do not want to spend a long time on this. It is inspired from an idea not very far away from the idea behind amendment No. 14. That is in the names of Senator Belton and Boland and asks that the Authority should circularise the principals of secondary schools with informations about the overcrowding and failure rates in various faculties. What I have in mind in my amendment—and what Senators Belton and Boland have in mind in their amendment—is that this Authority should try to contribute something towards solving the problem that the Minister's Parliamentary Secretary eloquently spoke about three or four weeks ago. The Parliamentary Secretary said that a large number of people, for whom no sufficient suitable employment opportunities would exist, were being funnelled into higher education. He also said that expectations were generated which were bound to be disappointed, and that the universities should pull themselves together, realise that they had a national duty to perform and a national responsibility, and that they should cut down those faculties which tended to produce unemployable graduates. Presumably the Parliamentary Secretary had in mind the faculty of arts, which turns out colossal numbers of BAs.

If that is Government policy, it should be stated. The Government should defend it and they should defend people who try to put into effect the same policy, whenever they get the opportunity. When UCD reduced its night student intake, there was an uproar in which neither the Minister nor his Parliamentary Secretary took any part in defending the college for doing something which, in Deputy O'Kennedy's opinion, is in the national interest.

I do not want to make a political point out of this. I realise that perhaps all politicians want to keep their heads down when something unpopular is going on, in which they feel they may get smeared with some of the mud. I do not want to make a particular point of the way in which the Minister and Deputy O'Kennedy failed to conduct themselves when UCD was coming in for all this criticism. I sincerely believe that what Deputy O'Kennedy said is true: there are large numbers of people entering the universities, spurred on by social dissatisfactions and ambitions. They are being funnelled into courses from which the only issue is disappointment. The Minister knows that to be the case and I need not press the point unnecessarily: I know that he will not disagree with me.

My anxiety in submitting this amendment was that the Authority should be specifically empowered to have some regard to this problem, which is a political one and a national one, as well as an educational one. The Authority should at least be empowered and instructed to prepare and furnish forecasts of probable employment opportunities for students entering various branches of higher education. That consorts very well and easily with Senator Belton's amendment which he himself will defend. This Authority should be specifically invited and encouraged—perhaps even required—to warn schoolchildren and their parents, so far as they can be warned, at a stage when it is not too late for them to change their minds, at a stage before they have perhaps finally made up their minds that they want to go to university in Dublin, Cork or Galway, that if they pursue a particular course their likelihood of getting employment in Ireland at the end of that course is going to be small. Conversely, it should be indicated to them the faculties and the departments in which the employment potential would be large.

The problem is real. It is a national and political problem and not a purely educational one. The Authority would be doing a good job if it does that much. I hope that I have not advanced this amendment in a contentious way and that the Minister will come some way to meet either Senator Boland or myself, or perhaps both of us, in asking that the Authority be given this function.

I appreciate what Senator Kelly has in mind. However, I do not really know if this is the function of the Authority. When I was speaking on Second Stage I referred to what I regarded as a function of the Authority, that it should ascertain our requirements. The attention of the Authority should be drawn to the obligation of higher educational institutions, in this country, to ensure that the stream of graduates would not merely consist of a doubling or trebling of what we need in one area and a complete shortage of what might be needed in another area. For example, our needs might be purely academic, medical or legal, as against technological. This is very important. It is a matter for the Authority itself and for the institutions to go further back from higher institutions of education to the secondary school themselves, to try to encourage the development of talents in students so that they would follow vocations which could be of advantage to the nation. We are the only ones who can make a success of this country; nobody else is going to do it for us. Therefore, there is an obligation on higher educational institutions to encourage students to take on the disciplines that will be needed if we are to make a success of life.

To me, this amendment appears to be making the Higher Education Authority a sort of employment exchange. The universities themselves have employment officers and this is their job. I could perhaps see the Authority having engaged in research, being in a position to do this. I honestly do not see it as being their function to do it.

If Senator Brugha would allow me to interrupt him, that is not really the point. It was to meet the very point that Senator Brugha is making that I adapted my words from what I said on Second Stage. The Minister, on Second Stage, said that he could not see the Authority acting like an employment exchange and of course the Minister is quite right. They could not possibly do that and I am not asking that they should do that. All I am asking is that they should assemble information which will speak for itself and distribute that information to the people who will need it and who will benefit from it while they still have time.

I will accept that. Is it necessary to tell an Authority to do this? I do not really think so.

One would have thought it unnecessary to tell the Authority that it had, for example, function (c)—promoting an appreciation of the value of higher education and research. That is absolute padding to me. It does not mean anything. But it is there all the same. It could have put a bit of teeth into this thing.

It is. However, I do not feel that this amendment is entirely essential. If the members of the Authority have been reading what has been said in the Official Report they would probably follow it anyway. I should not like to see the Authority being compelled to engage in this sort of work. It is the other end-product that the Authority should be interesting itself in: to ensure that educational institutions are fulfilling the requirements of the nation and to ensure that we are not turning out three times as many of what is needed in one area and insufficient graduates in another area.

While I sympathise with the idea in this amendment, I think it is totally unrealistic to make any effort at forecasting the Higher Education Authority would want to have immense resources at their disposal in order to make long-range forecasts of any validity for four or five years ahead. Those of us who have had experience of the university system over the past four or five years can look back and see what our views were at that time as to where jobs were likely to be. In 1966 the only thing that could be said for certain was that the Government were about to invest great resources in post-primary education. Therefore, it could have been forecast at that time that the average student would be certain of getting employment at home as a secondary teacher. We would have given that advice to anyone in 1967. If the HEA had been there and had been charged to do this they would have made that forecast for 1971. Yet we contrast this with the reality of 1971 and with the Parliamentary Secretary's speech attacking the universities for having turned out 1,600 Higher Diploma students this year. The variations of the economy have upset what in 1967 looked to be a cast-iron opportunity for employment.

The need exists for teachers. We need to lighten the load on the present teachers, but the Department of Finance will not pay for it. The opportunities are not there and we can see how quickly all the superficial critics have jumped to criticise the universities for producing so many teachers, as if a teachers only took about three months to qualify. Take established professions in which it might be more easy to forecast—for instance, the medical profession. Some ten years ago Holland spent a great deal of time and money trying to forecast their probable medical demands. Whenever the graph was said to be shooting up it went down and then when it was corrected it went the other way, so the whole thing was no better than just a guided guess.

They should have got a computer.

The efforts of Great Britain to plan their medical schools and their medical numbers since 1962 have been a series of wrong calculations. Contract, expand, contract, expand, push-pull or stop-go policies were the best that could be achieved. In other words, we must face reality. The training of a graduate is a long process and unfortunately the predictability of all economies is very difficult. Ours is far more difficult still. I should like to see some guidance given. It would be a very brave man and a very brave organisation that would commit themselves in print to making a forecast of what we are likely to need in four years' time. Could anybody here try to make a forecast as to what would be needed in four years' time?

Yes. I will, in my own branch of education.

I should like to hear that because I certainly cannot forecast without using "ifs" and "buts"—"if we are in the Common Market"; "if we are expanding" and so on. It is one thing to make a forecast but it is another thing to have it there in writing and to see it held up by parents afterwards indicating that in 1971 their children were advised to go for a particular career while in 1975 or 1976 there are no openings in that career.

While I sympathise with the amendment, it is an impossible task to place on any institution. Most people think that children can, at birth, be labelled for certain jobs and guided towards them. This is the man-power forecasting myth of the sixties. We are beginning to realise that human beings or the course of economy cannot be predicted with the accuracy to make such scientific approaches possible.

Consequently, I believe that some far less definitive task should be placed on the Authority even if it were confined to suggesting a year in advance that there are likely to be openings in certain fields. But when forecasts are made for two, three, four, five years in advance one reaches for the crystal ball and the crystal ball would be as good as the best efforts of any team of forecasters.

I feel it would be very dangerous if we accepted this amendment. This information should be made readily available to everybody. Senator Quinlan has very rightly pointed out that if this body put down in writing forecasts as to what would happen and these forecasts proved wrong there would be an outcry from parents who had spent quite a lot of money and time in sending their children foward for a particular degree or profession. It would downgrade the authority and standing of An tÚdarás if this were done. It is the duty of the parents to obtain the information. The onus is on the child to make his or her own decision regarding what faculty they take up.

If you reach the top half in any professional faculty you will make the grade. It is those in the lower half who need looking after. As a result of information circulated, people may enter professions not meant for them, and this could result in square pegs being in round holes. In my time the medical profession was overcrowded and is still overcrowded. It is a tradition in Ireland that we have to produce a large number of doctors and unfortunately most of them have to emigrate.

Are not the hospitals full of coloured doctors?

Our doctors still seem to be going away. Forecasting is a very dangerous thing. We all know of the forecasters in horse racing, but none of them makes fortunes. This is a much more serious business. Let the people make up their own minds. Teachers should have some source of information. Nobody should be told which faculty they should enter. They should make up their own minds about this. If a child has a tendency towards one profession it could be a serious thing to his or her mind. If this amendment were accepted it would lower the standing of An tÚdarás and we must try to keep that as high as possible. It is not their function to forecast; it is their function to get education for the students.

Might I say in reply to Senator Crinion and Senator Quinlan that it seems to me that the burden of the case which is being made by them is that ignorance is preferable to imperfect knowledge. We know there is no such thing as a perfect forecast; and I think what Senator Quinlan states is true, that the difficulties of forecasting manpower requirements are very great. There are simple statements of existing fact which will allow a parent to forecast for himself. If the Minister would put something like that into the Bill it would make me happy.

We do not say there should be no weather forecast simply because it is often wrong. It would be sufficient if the Authority were able to provide the sort of figures which would enable a parent to make up his mind as to what will be the best thing for his child. He will not, as Senator Quinlan stated, come back in five years' time and say to the Authority "You misled me". If the Authority gives him simple facts which are true today, he can draw his own conclusions.

I was challenged by Senator Quinlan as to whether I would make a forecast. I could make a forecast if I had a day or so. I could make a fairly confident forecast about the employment opportunities for law graduates or for people who will have professional legal qualifications in two or three years' time, but it might not be very exact. However, I know what has been happening in the last few years and that is something which parents who have children interested in becoming lawyers ought to have an opportunity of discovering.

Senator Quinlan stated that it is up to the parents to find this out for themselves but lots of parents are somewhat at sea when dealing with educational matters. They may be in the position of trying to give their children a better chance than they got and their approach to the matter is uninformed, not through any fault of theirs. They cannot advise their children properly. The parents may not have had a secondary education and do not know the proper way of getting the information needed.

I was at the Bar for three or four years. A very high proportion of the people who took their call to the Bar either never went into practice or, having gone in, gave up practice within the first year or so because they could not make a go of it. The reason for this was the ordinary market reason of supply and demand. There just was not enough business to go round. Many of these had attended night classes, having worked hard during the day thinking they would turn into courtroom marvels, but discovered that a very long and weary plod was necessary before anything of that kind could happen.

It would have been worth while if some of these people had access to statistical information of the kind I have just given to this House. In the year 1960, of 20 people who were called to the Bar, I doubt if there are three left in practice today. The parent who, in 1960, sent his child to study law would have been interested to know that this had happened to those who had come in during 1956 or 1957. It would have been a factor which he could have weighed and could have used in order to make up his mind about what advice to give his children. I am not asking for a perfect forecast. All I am asking is very simple information which this Authority will be in a very good position to get. They should be able to tell parents or to make available to teachers some kind of statement, not necessarily a forecast, about what has been happening in recent years in regard to employment.

Did the Minister's Parliamentary Secretary not make a forecast in so many words a few weeks ago that a very large proportion of the people going into the arts faculty or into the higher diploma course were doomed to disappointment? He was quite right. No one will blame him if he were asked to quantify the number of jobs he thought would be available for these people and if he were wrong by 50,100 or even by 200. He is doing his job well merely by pointing out this serious problem. We are not doing our job unless we take notice that that problem exists and when we have a Bill before us which is ideally suited to doing something about it, such as including among the functions of this Authority the collecting and publishing of information which will allow people to make an informed guess about what their prospects are if they enter university or higher education.

This undoubtedly is a problem. As Senator Kelly has said the Parliamentary Secretary, adverted to it. I read in one of the Sunday English newspapers, prior to his statement, about the excessive numbers of graduates in England accepting jobs for which their qualifications are of no value. They are going to the university just to be educated, but not educated for the particular job they had to take up. The person who wrote this in the English paper was asking the Government of the time to take some steps to direct, guide or limit. Whichever is necessary, the entry of students into various facilities or disciplines in the various universities in England at the moment.

In view of this, I believe it is the duty of a Government, or an institution of that Government, or an Authority set up by that Government, to give some advice—I do not like to use the word "forecast"—in regard to what may happen within the next few years. This is the only Authority we will have that can do it. It will be the Authority that will have information from every institution of higher education as to what is happening in their various disciplines and faculties in any particular year. By co-ordinating the information they get from various higher education institutions they can make an attempt to forecast.

The wording of Senator Kelly's amendment is important. It says:

preparing and publishing forecasts of probable employment opportunity for students entering various branches of higher education.

If this is adopted, there is nothing there to blame the Authority if their forecasts are wrong. Nobody can with any certainty forecast anything. It is only on the basis of experience and trends over years. They may have valley and peak periods in certain faculties. This may be an asset too. It may be like the sale of vegetables: a year when there is a glut on the market is the time to sow for the next year because there is sure to be a shortage.

Ideas like this might be promulgated by the Higher Education Authority. There must be some body in this country who would have the function of giving to likely students of higher education some idea about the probability of their success in entering a particular faculty or discipline. That is the purpose of this amendment. The amendment is not hard and fast; it could not be. I think the Minister should consider accepting this because there is an outcry at the present time about the superfluity of certain people with degrees. As Deputy O'Kennedy, the Parliamentary Secretary, rightly said recently, this occurs mostly in the arts faculty and in the diploma of higher education.

What Senator Crinion has said is true to some extent, that there is an anomaly here. We are employing in this country foreign students while we are exporting some of our own. This is an anomaly that is occurring. Senator Honan brought out the point. I know because we have some of them employed in the Eastern Health Board, but these applied for the posts and they got them on merit.

To come back to the point, I feel there must be some source from which the parents of pupils leaving secondary schools can derive some idea of the chances for their offspring if they enter an institution of higher education. This Higher Education Authority could, for instance, forecast that in one of the universities in Dublin a certain faculty might be short. This is as far as they can go within the next four or five years. They might also say that it would be better to go to another institution, or if the person concerned lived in the midlands, that it might be better to go to Galway or Cork. I think this is the type of forecasting Senator Kelly has in mind. I support the amendment.

I think if we look at this amendment in the context of the whole Bill it takes on a slightly different appearance from that which appears if we look at it only in the context of section 3. Under section 6, subsection (1) of this Bill:

An tÚdarás shall maintain a continuous review of the demand and need for higher education.

It would be very difficult to maintain a continuous review of the need for higher education without examining in some way or other the employment opportunities and manpower shortages that are likely to develop in the economy in future years. Under section 6 An tÚdarás is required to maintain this review and to advise the Minister. If, keeping this particular section in mind, we turn to Senator Kelly's amendment we see that, in fact, it is hardly necessary in this amendment to put in the words "preparing forecasts of probable employment". I cannot see that An tÚdarás will be able to do its job under section 6 unless it does prepare forecasts of some type or other of probable employment opportunities for the students towards whose education it is going to propose a diversion of large amounts of public funds.

I think what we are concerned with here is whether this information should be published by An tÚdarás in a form which is useful to the public. I think that, looked at in this way, there is a great deal to be said for Senator Kelly's amendment. There would be no compulsion on An tÚdarás to publish for public consumption the advice to the same extent or in the same form as it tenders that advise to the Minister or to the same extent or the same form in which it reviews the situation itself in arriving at policy decisions.

Nevertheless, An tÚdarás should, without difficulty, be able to take part in this information, to publish this information in a form which could readily be assimilated by the general public. There are of course dangers. These have been adverted to during the debate. The main danger is an undue reliance on these forecasts, the danger that the public would get an exaggerated view of the reliability of these forecasts. But that difficulty could be avoided. As Senator Kelly has said, partial knowledge is better than complete ignorance. It should not be beyond the wit of An tÚdarás to be able to perform a public function of very great utility in this particular regard. Unless An tÚdarás is able to help the public in this regard I do not think it will be able to make very much progress with the general function imposed upon it of promoting an appreciation of the value of higher education and research. If the Minister looks on this amendment as proposing the publication in a form suitable for public consumption of information which An tÚdarás will have already gathered, he may be able to be more sympathetic towards the amendment.

If I recollect correctly, when Senator Kelly was speaking on section 4 he was concerned that we should put an undue burden on An tÚdarás. Notwithstanding this he now, in my view, proposes an amendment which would in relation to its functions set An tÚdarás an extremely difficult task. It will be for agencies other than An tÚdarás to engage on the highly sophisticated task of endeavouring to forecast the employment opportunities for graduates coming out of the higher education system. They will need to have the assistance of various other groups to have this information available to them.

The task of assessing need and demand for the purpose of financing institutions of higher education will of course fall on An tÚdarás as mentioned by Senator Dooge in relation to section 6(1). Advising potential university entrants will be the task of career guidance teachers in the post-primary schools. An tÚdarás, as well as the individual institutions, will be in a position to assist these teachers, but placing a statutory obligation on An tÚdarás is another matter. It is recognised that manpower forecasting is a highly sophisticated business. As I said, An tÚdarás, in this sense, will have to rely on agencies in relation to this particular matter.

I had a discussion recently with a member of the authority of an university who told me that they intended bringing in the guidance teachers from the post-primary schools, not only here but in the North also to have a discussion with them with a view to assisting these guidance teachers in relation to their own particular university. This would be a very helpful way in which this matter could be dealt with.

I accept of course that it is very desirable that the fullest information possible should be made available to prospective students in higher education regarding career prospects, but I do not accept that it would be the correct function of An tÚdarás to undertake the dissemination of this information themselves. The provision of information of this kind is essental to the satisfactory functioning of career guidance both at the level of post primary education, where such a service has already been introduced and is being rapidly extended and developed, and at the level of post-secondary education, where I consider much still remains to be done in the matter of career guidance, primarily at the stage of entrance to higher education but of course also during a student's course. The guidance teachers, for example in the post-primary system, properly assisted by the universities themselves and by the higher education institutes in general, would be in a much better position to advise the post-primary students as to what institution they should enter and also what particular faculties they should decide is best for them.

This, therefore, is partly a matter for the authorities of such individual third level institutions. Guidance on proper lines would direct the students towards the type of course most suited to their own particular talents and ability. It will provide information in relation to career prospects and it will help to avoid or at least to relieve the situation where large numbers of students, having finished their courses and obtained qualifications of a particular type, only then realise that there are no career openings for them.

Here again I would like to emphasise that my opinion in relation to this matter is that the individual institution should undertake this type of guidance in relation to their own students. But I would like to see a situation where all of the institutions of higher education would work in collaboration and perhaps establish a central bureau for the collection and dissemination of the type of information which Senator Kelly, in this particular amendment, would charge An tÚdarás with preparing and publishing. These individual institutions, either individually or in collaboration and preferably collaborating with one another, would be the proper means by which this type of forecast should be given.

Amendment withdrawn?

Amendment put and declared lost.
Business suspended at 6.05 p.m. and resumed at 7.30 p.m.
Question proposed: "That section 3 stand part of the Bill."

I have one point to make on section 3 and I should like to make it at this stage, if only to safeguard my right to raise it on Report Stage in a possible amendment. It seems to me that a feature of this section is that it in some places duplicates matter which is contained elsewhere in the Bill. I am particularly concerned with paragraph (b), where An tÚdarás is given the general function of assisting in the co-ordination of State investment in higher education and preparing proposals for such investment. If we turn to section 9 we find:

An tÚdarás may relate annual or other financial requirements of institutions of higher education to financial planning over such periods as it considers suitable.

It seems to me that section 9 is, as I thought for a while section 4 was, a section which should find its place inside and as part of section 3. It is my impression that the function of section 9 might well be met adequately by adding to paragraph (b) of section 3 the phrase "over such periods as it considers suitable." This would put the subject matter of section 9, which is of prime importance in this Bill, where it belongs in the general functions of the Bill and it would also make the wording and general progress of the Bill through its various sections much neater and tidier.

There are a couple of points that I should like to raise on section 3, because I think we have in this section one of the most important sections of the Bill and one that lies close to the heart of this whole matter. The first point which I should like to raise is in regard to the objective in paragraph (a), which is the question of "furthering the development of higher education." Higher education is not defined in section 1 and I should like the Minister to inform us whether "higher education" is defined in any other statute. If so, what is the definition; and if it is not so defined, how is "higher education" to be interpreted in this Bill?

We can have a common understanding that higher education is tertiary level education following post-primary education. My concern is whether all such education is included. Earlier today the Minister indicated, in regard to students, that it was not necessary to talk of students and post-graduate students since the word "student" would include post-graduate students.

We then have to ask ourselves what is the scope of the term "post-graduate student." We have nowadays, particularly among the professions, increasing emphasis on what is known as continuing education. The universities and other institutions of higher education are playing a great part in this. Those who attend courses of continuing education are not post-graduate students in the formal sense that they are registered for a post-graduate degree or are following a full-time post-graduate study in an institution of higher education. Nevertheless, they are post-graduate students, whether they are attending short courses during a concentrated period of time or whether they are attending courses on a part-time basis throughout the academic year.

It would be very difficult to separate these activities from the ordinary functions of higher education. At times it is difficult to separate them from undergraduate education. I know that in the case of continuing engineering education much of the work which is done in this respect is to give courses for practising engineers in subjects and in accordance with curricula which are now part of undergraduate studies but were not part of undergraduate studies when these practitioners graduated. It has been said—and I speak of my own profession here because it is the one I know best—that the half-life of engineering knowledge is about ten years. It means that for anyone who graduates in a given year ten years later 50 per cent of the knowledge he had on graduation is either irrelevant, useless or wrong. Therefore, it is necessary to have a system of higher education which does not merely stamp a person with a primary or post-graduate degree.

If we are to educate our professional people so that they will continued to be productive and competitive throughout their careers, then we need this continuous training. In some fields this has reached the stage where people need to be updated yearly. In certain countries in Europe those who are qualified in subjects such as nuclear energy have to return to study for about four weeks every year in order to have their diplomas stamped that they are still qualified in their particular subject. I am concerned as to whether the scope of higher education, as defined here or as defined elsewhere, would cover these activities.

An institute of higher education is defined in section 1 of the Bill. Those who are receiving education in an institute of higher education would be considered as receiving higher education. I do not know of any other definition in any other legislation.

It is an inconclusive definition that education given in an institution of higher education is higher education. Does that preclude——

I said that in relation to the institutions as defined in the Bill A person receiving education in such an institution would be receiving higher education. I do not know if there is any other definition in any other Act.

My concern is whether in line 36 of section 3 An tÚdarás is restricted to furthering the development of higher education within institutions of higher education. A great deal of the post-graduate specialist education I am speaking about might be done partly within these institutions and party without them.

I would say if that education were done partly within the institutions and partly without, it would come within the scope of the Bill.

If there were a function which could equally be carried out by a professional body and inside an institution. This can happen in regard to continuing studies. While I recognise that An tÚdarás's financial function would not operate in regard to the professional body, can we take it that An tÚdarás is not precluded from furthering such studies and facilitating them?

That is right.

On the point that Senator Dooge has raised, it seems that the conclusion to be drawn from the Minister's reply is that all teaching hospitals should be considered institutions of higher education.

The Senator will note that in section 1(1) the higher institutions are defined as:

(a) a university,

(b) a college of a university, or

(c) an institution which the Minister, after consultation with An tÚdarás, designates by regulations as an institution of higher education for the purposes of this Act;

We cannot assume that any particular institution, apart from a university or a college of a university, will be designated. This is a matter which will have to be examined in consultation with An tÚdarás.

Further to Senator Dooge's question about the definition of higher education and the Minister's reply——

Perhaps I might add that all medical students are registered students in a university.

That might get over that point. There is another point arising out of Senator Dooge's question and the Minister's reply. The only answer the Minister could give is the definition of an institution of higher education and he implied from that that anybody in an institution of higher education is receiving higher education. That was the definition the Minister gave to Senator Dooge. Anticipating the next amendment, I should like to ask the Minister how would he consider an open university that has no institution? Would it come under that definition?

We can discuss this on the amendment.

Would I be allowed to bring that up on the amendment?

Further to this question of the meaning of higher education, I should like to return to a point which I made on the Second Stage. That was in paragraph (a). Here we have a reference to "further education", whereas in the remainder of the Bill we have continuous reference to "higher education and research". I should like to ask the Minister the significance of the difference in wording here.

Higher education, as such, includes higher education and research.

Would the Minister prefer to put that in at Report Stage? It might lead to difficulty.

I do not think it is necessary. In a sense, it could have been omitted in the other ones. My definition of higher education would include research.

I am a bit worried that on the face of it we have a Bill which talks about making certain provisions in regard to higher education and research. However, when it comes to the general function of furthering development, research is not mentioned. Higher education is not defined in the Bill. The Minister says we can define it by implication as activities that are carried on in an institution of higher education. He says that his reading of it would include research. There is, for example, in paragraph (c) of section 3, and also in regard to the financial sections later in the Bill a reference to higher education and research. I am a little worried that it might happen that some other statutory body might appeal to the precise tight wording of this Bill and endeavour to prevent or hinder An tÚdarás from the promotion of research which is proper to the university.

We know that certain difficulties and disagreements have arisen between certain of our research bodies in regard to the limitation between the areas of research which would be proper to these particular bodies. I should not like if such boundary disputes would occur between research institutes, or the National Research Council, and An tÚdarás um Árd Oideachais. I should be glad if the Minister would look at this point between now and Report Stage with a critical eye, and make sure that there are no difficulties here.

My information is that from the legal point of view it is not necessary. I will look at it.

If it were not positively dangerous, I should be happier if it were included there. Through lack of funding, our universities have not been able to develop research in the past to anything like the same degree as their sister institutions in other countries. Anything which smacks at all at the continuation of the neglect of research within our institutions of higher education would be a very retrograde step. We are all grateful to the Minister and his Department for what they have done in recent years for the encouragement of research. They made training grants and post-doctoral fellowships available. There is no doubt that it has been the Department's policy to make more and more funds available for this most important activity within many of our institutions of higher education. I am worried that this Bill might use one of two alternative wordings and that it might use the one which might be interpreted as undervaluing this particular activity.

I should like to support Senator Dooge very strongly in this. It is even more serious than he has just spelled out. The Minister's Department are not the only Department interested in supporting research. The Department of Health support research in the medical sphere the Department of Agriculture in the agricultural sphere, and so on. This badly needs some body to co-ordinate all this and to give it direction and decide how they should best continue. If this could be put in the sphere of influence of the Higher Education Authority, it would be a splendid thing. We could then look to that body to tell us exactly how we could merge with each other and work together.

Senator Dooge mentioned it to me previously, but not in the House. I looked at it since then and I was informed that there was no need for it. However, I will take another look at it.

If you look at section 10, subsection (1), you will find that:

An tÚdarás shall assess amounts of State financial provision, both current and capital, which is recommended for higher education and research or for any part thereof, either in relation to current or future periods.

This could possibly overcome the Senator's difficulty.

I agree, but I might say it is its development function that I am concerned with here. That is not merely meeting the bill for what has been done, which is adequately done in the section, but I should hope that An tÚdarás would be taking a positive attitude towards the development of research. In some of its reports already An tÚdarás has shown its desire that centres of excellence should be established. It is impossible to establish centres of excellence in teaching without centres of excellence in research. While the phrase here might be adequate and while the addition might be unnecessary, it would reflect better what appears to have been the attitude of the ad hoc body, and what certainly should be the attitude of the new Authority.

I have been informed that it is not necessary, but I will look at it.

In subsection (c) there is the question of promoting an appreciation of the value of higher education and research. Has the Minister formed any view as to how this might be done? This is an activity which might mean very little, but it might mean a great deal. We are agreed that we could leave it to the good sense and the specialised knowledge of the members of the new body, as to how this should be done. However, had the Minister any particular activities in mind when putting in that particular subsection?

I was thinking of promoting the appreciation of the value of higher education and research among parents, for example, and also among employers. I know that the question of students was also raised today, but perhaps it would be more important if we could promote the appreciation among parents, who would be responsible for the students.

I am very glad to hear that that is the Minister's view in this regard. I mentioned the point on Second Stage that many of the career decisions of children are influenced more than anything else by family circumstances and family views. I should like to suggest that the promotion of appreciation should be something on a completely wide basis. A special effort should be made to promote an appreciation in the places where higher education is least appreciated at the moment. Energy and money should not be wasted on preaching to the converted.

In coupling the parents with the employers, the Minister has singled out the other area where a great deal of education is needed. For example, some engineers who have graduated in this country in, say, mechanical engineering, have to emigrate, and this seems to indicate an overproduction of mechanical engineers in this country. It is nothing of the sort. It is an under utilisation. The position is that we do not produce relative to our population any more than any other country. It is just that our employers are still content to carry on, foolishly hoping to compete in the context of Europe without using the skills that are being used by their competitors in other countries. The Minister, in his short intervention, by singling out both the parents and the employers, has pointed to the two areas where this work would be most valuable.

I agree that appreciation should start in the home but I should like more to be done to have adult education centres set up, giving more opportunities to those who had not the chance of post-primary or formal education.

Before we pass section 3, I should again like to ask the Minister if he could give us some idea of the way in which he interprets the phrase "attainment of equality of opportunity". I mentioned on Second Stage that this can mean many things at different stages of development. I mentioned that there is the old equality of scholarship opportunity among the bright. We now have an equality of opportunity based on the Department's grant scheme. Does the Minister consider that equality of opportunity should go further in the near future? Does he anticipate and would he expect An tÚdarás to be thinking in the early years of widening still further the net in regard to higher education; or does he consider that it should be more in the nature of a growth much as we have at the moment but with a better distribution inside that number?

Within the limits of our finances, of course, this would have to be considered. Particularly, as Senator Horgan mentioned, on the technical side we would be very anxious to promote this situation. As Senators are aware, in recent years we have made very considerable advances at post-primary level where we have made free education available. I was not satisfied that this also meant equality of opportunity as is pretty obvious from my present problems in relation to the post-primary situation which I hope to overcome, given time.

Proceeding from that we have the grant system to help those who are unable to help themselves. I would see, in the future, the Higher Education Authority examining the situation particularly in relation to the technological side of education.

Does the Minister anticipate that the financial limitation is the major limitation in the matter of giving grants to support all those who matriculate for the university, or, does he anticipate that it would still require something more than minimum matriculation in order to qualify for a grant?

There are standards at the moment. I could not imagine changes beind made in that particular situation in the near future.

We could have the problem of defining the near future.

Question put and agreed to.

The matters arising on section 4 were discussed on amendment No. 6.

On a point of order, my understanding when moving the amendment on section 3 was that the Leas-Chathaoirleach, who was then in the Chair, made a ruling to the effect that he would not call Senators to order if the discussion were to slip over into section 4. It was my distinct impression that neither he nor the House intended to dispose of section 4 at that time.

The Chair raised this issue because clearly the matters arising on section 4 were discussed at some length on amendment No. 6. If Senators wish to raise further matters on section 4 they are, of course, at liberty to do so. The Chair would urge Senators to try to avoid repetition.

Question proposed: "That section 4 stand part of the Bill."

I should like to raise one simple matter which I did not raise when, moving the amendment, I am referring to it on this section because I may possibly have an amendment to this section on the Report Stage.

When I was examining this section after the discussion we had on my amendment to section 3 I spent some time trying to identify what precisely it was in the terminology of the section that I found unsustainable and shoddy. Eventually, I came to the conclusion that the two words in this section which are most in need of clarification, if not replacement, were "national aims." I am questioning, in the knowledge that I will not be misinterpreted and I am grateful for the Minister's remarks in this regard, if we can say in the way in which it is said in this section:

the national aims of restoring the Irish language and preserving and developing the national culture".

This is my aim. I do not doubt that it is Senator Kelly's aim. I am quite sure that it is the Minister's aim. But this does not make it a national aim. I am equally certain that it is the aim of the Fianna Fáil Party, of the Fine Gael Party and of the Labour Party, although each of these parties emphasise different aspects of the question in their approach to it. This does not make it a national aim. I even went to the Constitution where I thought one might reasonably find all national aims adequately defined. It is not so defined in the Constitution. The Constitution, Article 8 (1) merely says:

The Irish language as the national language is the first official language.

It said absolutely nothing about restoring, preserving and developing although in a certain sense this might be understood. The Constitution is the only instrument we have which was executed nationally. Even at that the manner in which it was executed leaves it open to some criticism. It was a Constitution which was adopted on a minority vote even within the area in which it was enacted. It was a Constitution on which it was not possible to ascertain the views of approximately 1½ million people to the north-east of us. While I do not think one can say that restoring the Irish language has been rejected by the Irish people as a national aim I think that we should have a sense of caution about proclaiming it as a national aim in this rather defensive way.

My final point in connection with this section refers to something that Senator Crinion said. He praised this section during the debate on the previous section because of the fact that it imposed no compulsion on people. It was something which encouraged people to endorse the Irish language rather than force them to do something about it. If we look at it from the point of view of somebody living in the six north-eastern counties of this country I doubt if they would take this reading out of it.

I believe—I have a form of words in mind which I intend to introduce as an amendment—that it is possible for us, once it has been laid down that we should include in this Bill some general statement of principle about the Irish language and Irish culture, to do this in a different way. I believe it is possible to devise with very little difficulty a form of words which, instead of imposing the Irish language and Irish culture on people living in the North of Ireland, would invite them to share it as the treasure we all believe it is.

This is really a psychological point but is one of some substance. I am not saying that this particular section will have any immediate effect in the northeastern part of the country, nor do I believe that we should be involved in any sort of horse trading of our heritage to please people when they want no hand, act or part of it. I believe that we should look around for a more positive formula, a less defensive formula than we have in this section, which instead of proclaiming something that could be divisive, proclaims something that might unite us.

I can think of no more positive formula and a less defensive one than that incorporated in this section. When we speak of national aims, the question is: how do we interpret these? The only way in which I can possibly interpret the national aims is by looking at the programmes of the various political parties. As Senator Horgan has stated, all of the political parties and many of the groups which are not in this House at present accept that these are national aims. Our identity depends considerably on the fact that we have our own language, our own culture and that this language and culture are worth preserving.

I cannot follow the reasoning of Senator Horgan in this matter. It has always been accepted, long before the foundation of the State, that the Irish language was the primary part of our cultural heritage and that unless we could preserve our own culture then we could no longer identify ourselves as a nation. There is no problem here so far as I am concerned.

Question put and agreed to.

I move amendment No. 9.

In line 9, after "education" to add "or the establishment and control of an open university".

The amendment which stands in my name and in that of Senator Dooge is to add to section 5, after the word "education" in line 9 "or the establishment and control of an open university".

I will leave out the middle part of the section and read the sentence that will be affected.

An tÚdarás shall advise the Minister on the need or otherwise for the establishment of new institutions of higher education, on the nature and form of those institutions and on the legislative measures required in relation to their establishment or in relation to any existing institution of higher education or the establishment and control of an open university.

The first line of section 5 is "An tÚdarás shall advise the Minister on the need or otherwise". This amendment does not intend, nor does it suggest or say, that I or Senator Dooge are looking for the establishment of an open university now or at any time in the future. It is only a covering amendment to prevent the need for regulations or legislation in the future.

Open universities, as most of the Members of this House know, are conducted through the medium of television in various countries. Those who get reception from the British television stations have already looked at and listened to the open university. I know it may be expensive and may not be practical but this is only inserted here as a function of an tÚdarás to advise the Minister on the need, or otherwise, of such a method of communicating knowledge. An open university must be construed as coming within the ambit of the Higher Education Authority although it cannot be construed as an institution unless you use the word "institution" in a different sense to the one we have been already using.

If this amendment is accepted it may be necessary to come to some arrangement with Radio Telefís Éireann. I expect this difficulty could easily be got over. There may also be some necessity to come to an arrangement with Radio Telefís Éireann on the control of any other methods of conveying instructions or knowledge which would not come within the ambit of an open university. I think this provision must be brought into this section. I do not suggest it should take effect now or even within the near future. Money may not be available and there may be other reasons why it would not be feasible. But it should be put in here. It only says that An tÚdarás shall advise the Minister on the need for it. It does not say that it must be established at once. I would commend the amendment to the Minister.

The open university in England has proved very costly. If you are including in the section the onus——

I did not suggest you should include it.

The amendment seeks to add: "or the establishment and control of an open university". If that were included in the section the implication is that An tÚdarás should try to establish an open university here. I think England would have second thoughts about an open university in view of the overall cost. As the section stands, the Authority can advise on any particular system of higher education that is needed. I do not think there is any necessity to insert what the amendment seeks because it could be construed as implying that An tÚdarás should establish an open university. The present costs of education pose, and will continue to do so, a big budgetary problem. This proposal would only add to the cost, and put the onus on An tÚdarás to provide an open university.

I feel that, in as much as an open university would be a new institution of higher education, the wording of the section as it stands would cover an open university. It is not necessary, nor indeed would it be desirable, to specify in the Bill one particular type of institution of higher education while excluding specific reference to other types.

I tend to agree with Senator Crinion when he says that to single out an open university for specific reference would be to appear to give that particular type of institution an importance and a recognition for special consideration beyond what other institutions would command. I am personally very interested in the concept of an open university. Again, as Senators know, this is a concept which is a modern one and as yet has only been tested out in Britain. In our present circumstances I do not feel that the establishment of an open university could rank high in our priorities. I would fear, apart altogether from what I have said on this, that if I were to specify an open university here, it would appear as if it were a high priority, which I am afraid at the present time it could not be.

However, section 5, as it stands, does not require any amendment to ensure that An tÚdarás would have the authority and the duty to advise the Minister on the establishment and the control of an open university. It would be entirely premature to make a special reference in this Bill to an open university. An open university would, just as any other university, have to be established by legislation and once it had been established it would come within the scope of the functions of An tÚdarás. I feel that it would in legislation have to be given institutional status but the section covers this and I think that it would be inadvisable to make special reference to an open university.

It is gratifying to hear that the Minister is interested in the idea of an open university and, of course, no surprise to hear that he is somewhat worried about the cost involved. I think that the Minister is now probably worried about the cost involved in all types of education. There is nothing singular about the open university in this regard. There is a greal deal of force in what the Minister has said. It is highly probable that, as section 5 is drafted, which allows the establishment of new institutions of higher education, it will include an open university. He suggests it is undesirable that this particular type of institution should be singled out for mention.

I should just like to suggest one reason why it might be singled out for mention. Senator Uí Eachtháin mentioned earlier she hopes that, in what was being done, the question of adult education would not be forgotten. Higher adult education constitutes, in fact, the establishment of an open university or some institution of this type. I feel that when we are now making provision for the generations that are lucky enough to be born after us, in order to make higher education available on a wider scale and to a wider spectrum of our people, we should not forget when doing this to make as much provision as we can and to make it as soon as possible for those generations who received their formal education before this reform and revolution in education started.

In all our planning and education it is necessary for us to think of those people, who are every bit as deserving as those lucky enough to benefit from the relatively high expenditure on education today, and to remind ourselves that these people have not had these benefits. The provision of an open university, just like the provision of adult education at all levels, should be a relatively high priority. It would be very wrong if from a narrow economic sense we would tend to concentrate only on those cohorts who are now entering the work force. We have a duty in social justice to those who are already in the work force that we should not neglect them in our educational planning.

I further think that, even if we were to view this in a narrow, economic light, we would probably find that investment in the further education of those already in the work force might well prove economically more productive than pushing too fast in the training of those entering the work force for the first time. We would, by mentioning an open university highlight the fact that this Bill was not only providing for those who will leave secondary school and enter institutions of higher education. It would be an indication to the Higher Education Authority that the members of the Oireachtas feel that the whole of our community must be considered in our educational planning. This, as I say, is the reason why it might be desirable that we should mention this one particular type of institution of higher education as a clear indication that not only should it not be forgotten but the examination of it, not necessarily the establishment of it, should not be left off too long.

I am sure that the Higher Education Authority will take note of what has been said here in relation to the whole question of an open university. However, that is one thing; but to insert it here in a section is a different matter. Senator Dooge suggests that I would naturally be worried about the financial situation. Of course I certainly would, because it is a very expensive type of operation. I would be even more concerned with the appearances, as it were, of my priorities. As I have already said, I think it would overstress what would appear to be a high priority which, in fact, unfortunately it cannot be at the present time.

The question of adult education of course is a very important one, but there are many other ways and means by which we can develop our adult education. This we are doing at the present time. I am sure Senators are aware of the fact that we have an interim report from the Adult Education Committee and this is being studied as to the best means by which we can provide adult education for our people.

I accept what Senator Dooge has said that we should concern ourselves about those who are in the work force at the present time as well as those who would be fortunate enough to enter into our institutions of higher education through the leaving certificate. I would mention that through our various courses at the present time, we are concerning ourselves about this. We recognise it is essential that we should concern ourselves very much with adult education because it is generally recognised now that a man may have to retrain twice or three times in his lifetime. But I do not think that the insertion of this particular amendment in the section would help at the present time in the adult education field. For the many reasons therefore which I have given in regard to this amendment it would not be proper to include one specific type of higher education in the section.

I am somewhat disappointed that the Minister is not accepting this amendment, although he has expressed his appreciation of the value of an open university. Before I go on to the Minister's reply, I think Senator Crinion misinterpreted what I said. I did not suggest that an open university should be established at present. Neither did I suggest that it would be cheap. The section reads:

An tÚdarás shall advise the Minister on the need or otherwise for the establishment of new institutions of higher education...

The advice they might give to the Minister is that it would be too dear or that there is no necessity, but the reason for putting it in here was that on the Second Stage of this Bill many people spoke specifically about adult education. At least one that I know of, Senator Cranitch, mentioned an open university. Other people mentioned adult education to a certain degree. I can recognise that the Minister had some sympathy with my suggestion that there might be some value in an open university. It is true that it may be too expensive for this country with its limited economic resources, but that fact or the fact that the Minister might not agree with it is no reason for not putting it in here. All that is asked is that An tÚdarás shall advise the Minister on the need for it, and the Minister may say he has no money.

As regards the Minister's point that it is already included, that may be so. He is dealing with institutions. The meaning I took from his definition of "institution of higher education" was a place where education of a certain standard was carried on in a college or university or other such institution. All these were buildings. However, if the Minister accepts that it is included within this section I will not press the amendment. The Minister does say it is included in this section?

Yes. What I did say was that to establish a university of any kind legislation would be needed. It would need legislation to give it an institutional status.

That is included—

No, but this is the point I am making: in any legislation that would be deemed necessary to provide an open university it would be essential that the open university should be given an institutional status so that it could come within the scope of the Higher Education Authority.

I will not press the amendment in view of the Minister's expressed interest in it. I understand he does not want to give it the priority which its insertion here might appear to give it. It was not my intention to give it that priority. The Minister understands that?

I quite understand that. I appreciate the reasons why the Senator put down the amendment.

It was not my intention to give it priority. The Minister has sympathy with it and will retain it in his mind. As I said somewhere else before, I presume that those people who are appointed to the Higher Education Authority will read the proceedings of both the Dáil and this House when they are appointed to that Authority and the matter will come to their attention.

The Senator can be assured of that.

I hope so.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Question proposed: "That section 5 stand part of the Bill."

I am not quite clear on the wording of the section that:

An tÚdarás shall advise the Minister on the need or otherwise for the establishment of new institutions of higher education...

With whom lies the initiative? Is it the Higher Education Authority which initiates this and advises the Minister, or is it the Minister who will seek advice from the Higher Education Authority? I am still not quite clear, although I tried to ask the same question in another form—what the relationship is between section 5 and the definition in section 1(c):

an institution which the Minister, after consultation with An tÚdarás, designates by regulations as an institution of higher education for the purposes of this Act;

I would like to know is there a direct relationship between them, with whom is the initiating power under section 5 and what is the relationship between the Minister and An tÚdarás in relation to this section?

I might say here that this would be two-way traffic if I might use common parlance. In other words, An tÚdarás could offer the advice or could be requested to give the advice. When An tÚdarás would have examined the overall position they would then have a good idea whether there was need for an additional institution, for example. Following from that, if they gave me advice and I accepted this advice, that there was a need for such an institution, then they would advise me as to the legislative measures necessary to establish it. The third point is that they would also advise in regard to any legislative measures that might be required in relation to existing institutions, for example the reconstitution of such an institution.

Does the section have any relation with section 1(c)? That is something that I cannot quite work out myself. Will the Minister, on the advice given under section 1 (c), act after the advice given under section 5?

It would be only when the institutions were established that the question of recognition or designation would arise.

Section 5 relates to any existing institutions of higher education. I am not quite clear whether the Minister accepts that—

I expect it could. As I have already mentioned, for example, the reconstitution of such institutions, like rationalisation of the university situation in Dublin.

What I am trying to establish is whether the Minister would accept that his powers under section 1(c) would generally follow advice given under section 5. Therefore the impetus, or certainly the advice, would come from An tÚdarás and it would be more than just a casual consultation. It would in fact be advice from——

Generally speaking, yes.

We could take it, then, that the Minister would not envisage his consulting with An tÚdarás, then proceeding to designate without allowing time to elapse for them to give him considered advice.


This is beyond the Minister's imagination?

I should like to raise a point which I made on the Second Stage of the Bill and I do not think the Minister referred to it in his reply at that stage. The point concerns the co-operation which An tÚdarás will have with institutions in the United Kingdom and specifically in Northern Ireland. We are moving towards a time in which we will have closer economic links with the United Kingdom through the European Economic Community. One of the many aims in the EEC is that universities and institutions of higher education should come closer together and be more flexible in their approach to exchange of staff, students, knowledge and all these other things. I should like to ask the Minister, since there is no specific reference to it anywhere, what the official attitude will be towards the universities, and especially in the North of Ireland.

I pointed out that there are already bodies in this country—I mentioned one specifically, but I think there are others—like the Royal Irish Academy which have links with the institutions of higher education in the other part of this country. These are very valuable links and they should be fostered. It is most important that An tÚdarás does not in any way operate to the detriment of links between universities in north and south. I think we should not wait to go into the EEC to strengthen these links and I should like to have some positive assurance from the Minister—I know he can say something in debate here to which we can refer afterwards and yet it has no statutory significance—that the Authority will take positive steps early in its life to work together with the northern colleges and to co-operate with them, to exchange information and to work for the general benefit of everybody in this country. He might also refer specifically to the relationship between An tÚdarás and the Royal Irish Academy which already has these very important links.

Perhaps the Senator is not already aware that grants to students here can be used by them in the universities in Northern Ireland, as can grants given in Northern Ireland be used in our universities here. That is one very considerable link. I would also envisage that An tÚdarás could have appropriate discussions with any other universities or institutions if they so desired. I have no doubt that they will do this because, in a sense, we would become parties with them in the development of higher education. I feel that they would have close links.

Could the Minister say what the connection between An tÚdarás and the Royal Irish Academy will be?

I cannot say anything about what might happen in the future. I mentioned on one occasion in the Dáil that I would agree to the designation of a particular institution and I was rapped over the knuckles by some Members for making that statement, as they could claim that I had made the statement without having consultation with An tÚdarás in relation to it.

I understand that point and I realise that the Minister himself cannot say at this stage what An tÚdarás will decide. I should like to know that it is the policy of his Department strengthening of the links with the educational institutions in the North should be an aim. It is all very well to say that students in the south can go to universities in the north and vice versa because the grants are applicable. This is good, but it is only a very minor step in what should be much more positive co-operation. I should like the Minister to give some thought to this because it is something about which we have not made any positive moves at all.

For example, I came up against a case this year in which a student from Queens University was to transfer to Trinity College for a year. It had nothing to do with the Department of Education—they cannot be blamed— but for certain technical reasons, which to me were absolutely ludicrous, this man was unable to transfer. There were all sorts of silly regulations in the way of an exchange. These transfers can only do this country a great deal of good and I should like to see a positive move being made in the direction of links between institutions of higher education in the south and those in the north.

The Chair has great difficulty in relating the Senator's remarks to section 5.

I could say I am informed that many of the advisory bodies under the Royal Irish Academy and committees subject to them have representatives from both north and south.

On the section which provides for the establishment of new institutions of higher education— in other words new universities as time evolves—I should like some indication from the Minister of his thinking on that. At the present time there is a feeling among many of us that it would be better not to allow existing institutions to get too big and that it would be better, if the need arises—as it must arise in 15 or 20 years—for developing other centres, to go ahead with that freely and to use the machinery of the Higher Education Authority, and we hope the Council of Irish Universities will be set up under that, to ensure that we evolve a system of co-operating independent university centres.

If the existing centres grow too big— and already at least one of the Dublin centres is reacing that stage—it might be well to consider the provision of arrangements by which first-year classes could be taken elsewhere, something on the junior college style in America, or even to get back to the despised type of junior colleges that were recommended by the Commission on Higher Education. In any case we should consider anything that would take the pressure of numbers off the existing ones and prevent the growth of too large centres. In Cork we are very conscious of this because at the moment, like other centres, we are engaged in evolving a plan for the future. A plan must take account of the physical side and the resources available, and our thinking on that is that we would welcome a ceiling, not very much greater than our present number, of something of the order of 5,500 or 6,000 put on our centre as an absolute maximum.

After that we would welcome the creation of other centres to provide for whatever is required. That applies equally to the development of the Limerick Institute towards which we have no antagonism whatsoever and to which we offer the greatest cooperation. We want to ensure, however, that existing centres are brought up to some minimum level before we embark on other new ventures.

I am sure the Senator will appreciate, now that we have gone a very considerable distance towards establishing An tÚdarás in statutory form, that it would not be right for me to anticipate what advice they are likely to give me in relation to these matters.

Surely the Government have some ideas as to whether they favour the growth of very large centres or whether they would prefer to have a number of smaller co-ordinated centres?

We have already made our views clear on that point.

Question put and agreed to.

I move amendment No. 10:

Before section 6 to insert a new section as follows:

"In relation to its functions in this Act An tÚdarás shall consult with the relevant institutions of higher education including the students in these institutions."

Senator Jessop in unable to be present and has asked me to move this amendment on his behalf. I move this amendment with conviction because I think it would be an important statutory obligation on An tÚdarás to consult with the institutions and, in particular, with the students in relation to the general function set out in section 3 and other specific functions. Under the wording of the amendment, as drafted, this would not tie An tÚdarás down in any way. Neither would it put an undue burden on that body. It would be part of a dialogue with the Higher Education Authority and these institutions and would promote a sense of participation in the development of higher education in this country by the students concerned.

The Minister might well accept this amendment as an important contribution to the development of higher education. He may be of opinion that the Higher Education Authority will, naturally, consult with these institutions and with the students concerned. We have put a great deal into this Bill rather specifically. We have spelt out various functions and aims, including the national aims in relation to the restoratin of the Irish language and culture, for the Higher Education Authority. We have also spelt out the way in which the Higher Education Authority will act, the way in which they will co-operate with the Minister and their exact functions in this regard. It is, therefore, appropriate and important that a statutory duty of consultation should be placed on the Higher Education Authority as outlined in this amendment.

I think Senator Robinson has already answered this question in the manner in which I feel it should be answered. I could not visualise An tÚdarás being able to perform its duties without consulting with the various institutions of higher education. It is implicit throughout the Bill that An tÚdarás must consult with the relative institution of higher education in relation to its functions under the Bill. One could not imagine how An tÚdarás could possibly fulfil its various functions, and particularly its specific functions, without having consultation with the institutions concerned.

With regard to the inclusion of students in these consultations, I feel that An tÚdarás must have freedom to consult with any relevant interest. If we were to specify the interests with which they must consult the list would be endless, unless we were to confine the discussions to one or two interests. I cannot see any reason for accepting this amendment because it is quite obviously implicit that An tÚdarás could not possibly function without consultation with the institutions concerned. On the other hand, I am equally convinced that if we were to add, as in the case of an open university, a particular body to this section it would mean that we would have to continue to list all those institutions with whom the Authority should consult. That would result in an endless list and for that reason I cannot accept the amendment.

I do not agree that imposing a statutory duty on the Authority to consult the institutions and students in the institutions would be regarded as satisfying the requirement of consultation with various interests or the rquirement of seeking expert advice or assistance elsewhere. This is one of the good things about the ad hoc body. It came into the universities and sat in open session in consultation. This was greatly appreciated. I am sure the Minister will say this is implicit in the Bill and I would agree with him. However, there are many other things which would have been implicit if we had not written them into the Bill.

Section 6 reads that "An tÚdarás shall maintain a continuous review of the demand and need for higher education." One could say that this would have been implicit in its functions if it was to function as a Higher Education Authority and yet we are spelling it out in the Bill. Although it would be implicit that there would be a duty on the Authority to consult there is great value in making it statutory on it to do so. It would be of particular value to include the students because the Minister is reluctant to give the students statutory status on the Authority, but if he imposed a duty on the Authority to consult with students it would go a long way to alleviate the students present feeling of being left out and being cut off from the planning and work of the Higher Education Authority.

I should like to support this amendment. I think it is, in a sense, a poor second to the amendment which was defeated earlier in the day. I should like to draw attention to what I feel might be some of the unhappy consequences of failing to make this matter explicit. In doing so I would remind the Minister that, even though the Higher Education Authority did, as Senator Robinson has said, go into the colleges, it was not the happy type of perambulation that it might have been. If I remember rightly, in Cork there was considerable misunderstanding between the members of the as hoc Authority and the student body about the nature and functions of the Authority as well as about its desire to meet the student body there.

If we do not make this duty explicit it opens the possibility for the Authority, however well meaning it may be—it may choose some excuse such as lack of time—to avoid the kind of consultation we are talking about. If the Authority is left free to avoid such consultation and if it avoids such consultation suspicion will gather strength that the members of the Authority are acting as plenipotentiaries for their institutions. This is a situation which I know the Minister is anxious to avoid. I believe that by inserting this new section in roughly the same words as Senator Jessop has presented it the Minister would enhance the credibility of the Authority and avoid any possible implications about the conduct of its members.

I am afraid I cannot accept what Senator Horgan says. There may have been some misunderstandings but, of course, there will always be misunderstandings. Time will give the opportunity of ironing out these matters. I have already pointed out that, in my view and, I think, in the view of most people, it is clear that An tÚdarás could not perform its functions without having consultations with the relevant institution of higher education.

With regard to the student aspect of this matter, if we were to decide that there should be consultation on a statutory basis the question would arise as to what students would be met, how they would be selected, if the general body of students would accept them, and so on. I am not making this a particular issue: I am simply saying that it is quite obvious to me that An tÚdarás could not perform its functions without consulting with the relevant institutions. Therefore I can see no reason why we should include this amendment in the section.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 11:

In subsection (2), line 12, to delete "overall".

I think amendments Nos. 11 and 12 should be taken together. They are basically designed to tidy up the section. I understand that, as originally presented in the Dáil the section read roughly as I should like to see it amended. In its present form, the section is ambiguous about the ministerial function with regard to the provision of student places within the higher educational system. The provision of student places to be made within the higher educational system— in other words, the slice of the national cake that is to be made available for higher education—is a political decision and therefore a ministerial decision. It is right that the Minister should be given the power of taking a broad decision along these lines, as the section would enable him to if my amendment were accepted. The last three lines:

...having regard to the need to maintain a reasonable balance in the distribution of the total number of students between the institutions of higher education...

seems to me to introduce in ambiguity. Does it confer on the Minister the right to decide how many students should go to any particular institution of higher education? It is quite wrong to give the Minister that right. The right to do this is specifically reserved to An tÚdarás, in section 10, subsection (2) of the Bill. As it exists at present, subsection (2) of section 6 is either superfluous to the Bill, as a whole, or even in direct conflict with subsection (2) of section 10.

Has the Senator spoken to both amendments?

I have, yes.

As the Senator has already mentioned, when this Bill was first presented to the Dáil, it did not have in subsection (2) the words which the Senator wishes, by this amendment, to delete. These words were added to the subsection as a result of an amendment proposed on Committee Stage— not by me—and agreed to after a rather full debate. The words which this amendment proposes to delete were inserted in the subsection through the amendment which I accepted and which was agreed to during the passage of the bill through the Dáil. I consider it to be an essential portion of the function of An tÚdarás that in making their recommendations to the Minister as to the overall provision of student places to be made within the higher educational system, they should have regard to the distribution of the total number of students between the institutions of higher education. This also includes non-university institutions. Perhaps there is a danger in dealing with this Bill, particularly in the Seanad where there are so many academics— and I do not say that in any derogatory sense—in that we tend to think to institutions of higher education as universities only. There are other institutions which provide courses leading to technological qualifications of the type which serve urgent requirements of the community and of the economy. In considering this subsection, we must keep all the institutions of higher education in mind, and not the universities only.

The Senator is worried about the Minister having the power to make the arrangements in relation to the students. Not only would the Minister not have the power, but it would not even mean that An tÚdarás would arbitrarily decided what number should be accepted in any particular institution, or how these number would be distributed as between the faculties in the institution. It would be an element of the general function assigned to An tÚdarás under section 3 (b), that is, "assisting in the co-ordination of State investment in higher education and preparing proposals for such investment". I had originally been of the opinion that these words were unnecessary in this subsection, since they appear in almost precisely the same form in subsection (2) of section 10. So I suppose I have the same qualms as Senator Horgan had. Nevertheless, in the light of the arguments that were advanced in the Dáil, and having given the matter the fullest consideration. I am now satisfied that subsection 920 of section 6 has been improved by their addition.

The Senator also has an amendment to delete the word "overall" I do not see that the word "overall" would make any difference to the meaning of this particular subsection. Subsection (1) charges An tÚdarás with the maintenance and continuous review of the demand and need for higher education. It is a corollary to it that in subsection (2) An tÚdarás is required to recommend to the Minister to overall provision of student places to be made within the higher educational system. The word "overall" has a definite purpose here, and I cannot agree to the proposal for its deletion. Taking the country as a whole, An tÚdará would decide on, say, providing X number of arts student, Y number of medical students, and so on, for the whole country, in the context of the demand and need. Otherwise, it would appear to relate to individual institutions.

Maybe I misheard the Minister, but I thought I hears him say he considered that the word "overall" did not make any difference to the section and, secondly, that it had a specific purpose in the section, and not specifying what that specific purpose is. If it has any purpose it is to emphasise, in an age in which higher education is so often taken to mean university education, that it is to cover all forms of higher education. However, this is a word which is superfluous to the Bill. The Minister said that it had a specific purpose, but he did not tell us what it was.

The other point I should like to make is in connection with the word "recommend" in "An tÚdarás shall recommend to the Minister." My understanding of this phrase is that recommendation to the Minister is followed by action by the Minister. What sort of action does the Minister envisage himself taking on foot of recommendation made by An tÚdarás under this section? Does he not run the risk while taking action under this section of conflicting with the activites of An tÚdarás under section 10 (2)?

There are two separate issues here. One is the overall provision for students and the other is as to how they might be distributed between institutions. These considerations govern, to a large degree, the total Bill to be presented for higher education as well as the breakdown in the matter of the amounts to be provided for individual institutions.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment No. 12 not moved.
Question proposed: "That section 6 stand part of the Bill".

On section 6, I should like to ask the Minister what is the particular force of the word "continuous" in subsection (1)? We miss, this evening, Senator West, who is a mathematician and who might have a particular definition of "continuous." To my mind the plain meaning of the word "continuous" is "without interruption", in contrast to a word such as "continual" which means "at frequent intervals". I should have thought that perhaps the subsection might read.

"An tÚdarás shall maintain continually a review of the demand and need for higher education".

This would meet the ordinary intent that they should follow changes in the demand and the need for higher education with whatever frequency is required for the purpose of carrying out their functions. To me the word "continuous" has the meaning "without interruption". I am wondering if we would not legally be putting on them a burden of reviewing every week and every day. We have a mathematician in Senator Quinlan.

That is correct. "continuous" means "without interruption".

I do not know if he lawyers can tell us if the word "continuous" means something different in a Bill than it does in plain speech.

The general idea here was that a five-year plan would be drawn up and that a continuous review of this plan would be maintained so that it could be modified from time to time. Evidently the legal aspect of it is that the word is correct in this particular situation.

"Continuous" is the wrong word.

Not unless the legal people are in error, I can have a look at that word.

I wonder if the Minister would make the specific query.

My information is that this is what it really means. Having drawn up the plan they would keep it under review.

If we are talking have of a five-years plan which is reviewed every year, every six months or every quarter I think the word "continuous" indicates a higher degree of continuity than is intended.

The point is that at any stage they can modify this five-year plan. Therefore, for that reason it would have to be under continuous review.

I am afraid to us that is a discreet process and not a continuous one.

I should like to draw the attention of the House to the fact that, as Senator Belton said earlier, one of the points of section 6 is similar to the point which he and I have been trying to get the Minister to recognise with our amendments in regard to giving the public some idea of the longterm prospects for employment. I should like to ask the Minister if he envisages that, so far as the continuous review of the need for higher education is concerned, the Authority would publish their views or findings in regard to this need?

A "need for higher education" is not a very lucid phrase because both subjective and objective constructions of it are possible. An individual may experience a need for higher education as a perfectly valid one in regard to his own individual development. I presume that is not what is meant here so much as the national need for higher education or for people with higher training. If that is what the Minister means it might be no harm to say so.

I feel that the Authority would make reference to the assessments that they make in their reports in relation to need.

If they would then circulate that to the kind of people who are likely to be interested in it, it would go a long way towards meeting the point I was arguing earlier.

I think it is true that they did make reference to this in their first report.

Following the point raised by Senator Kelly I should like to get something more precise on the need for higher education. I questioned earlier the feasibility of forecasting, but the recognition of need is a different thing. The need is something that is present or something that is likely to arise in the next few months. It is a recognition that the economy may, for example, be short of technicians or chemical engineers or some other identifiable group of person. In a system as open and as unpredictable as ours we should be always on the alert to recognise need where it arises and to make provision for suitable short-term courses to supply that need. In other words, as I put it on Second Reading and I want to put it to the Minister again, we should treat graduates in the same was as we treat redundant workers.

Graduates or technicians, the products of any stage of our educational system, have got a training and are equipped to do a job. But if the job is not there and if we can retain them for a job that is there, then the onus is on us to do that in fairness to the young people concerned and also for the benefit of our economy. Therefore, I should like to feel that An tÚdarás, in recognising a need, should have some machinery for action quickly by either acquainting the Minister of this need or by setting up or suggesting courses necessary to bridge that gap.

It is only by flexibility that we can get the most out of the educational process. It is a long process, generally involving three, four or five years of training. Therefore, we will have to have continuous assessment and continuous re-training. Obsolescence in the sciences is within five or seven years—Senator Dooge can check the figure for me— the period in which the technologist should be subject to retraining. This is a function of our institutions, but it is a function where co-ordination is necessary and where it could legitimately be the responsibility of the Higher Education Authority to ensure that our technologists and technicians are provided with adequate retraining facilities at suitable intervals.

I recognise the various problems put forward by Senator Quinlan. The question of need is an assessment of the requirement of the nation in various fields of activity as it relates to the employment of graduates and others in the higher education fields. I do not wish to go into the long statement I made on another amendment. While the Higher Education Authority would need to take this into consideration it would basically be a matter for the institutions of higher education. A number of the problems could be overcome if we had our post-primary guidance scheme fully developed. I have already replied at length to this matter which is raised now by the Senator.

The Minister misses the point there when he states this is the responsibility of the individual institutions. It is not. The provision of additional short term courses or refresher courses is an onerous task. All these cost money. It is not a particularly high level activity and not the type of activity into which the institution concerned would be very anxious to divert their resources. Yet it needs to be done in the national interest. On the other hand, you do not need four or five of those courses going on at the same time. Once you identify a need there should be money provided for any stop gap measures that are necessary to get over that need, and I would envisage An tÚdarás recognising the fact that we need so many additional technicians trained in this way.

This might require some special degree training. A six month course in a particular line of subjects might produce ten or 15 people urgently needed by Irish industry. Surely such activity should be paid for separately? The institution that undertakes to give the course is doing a national service and the bill should be presented to the Government for payment. It is not something they will rush into on their own account.

I could see that this would be a situation where the Higher Education Authority would consider any such proposals which would come before them and, should they regard the proposals as reasonable, they should make money available.

I think the initiative should come from an tÚdarás.

I am sure it would in certain instances.

If you take all the pass B.A.s we are talking about at the moment and the fact that we are short of several hundred technicians, I cannot see why a technical crash course at a good level for six months or a year would not be provided so that these people would emerge in six months or a year as technicians to fill a need in Irish industry.

I would say that this should be provided in a technological college rather than in a university.

Yes, but here we are discussing all the third level institutions and recognising that.

I appreciate that.

In recognising that, the Minister might have said in the first place that it was a pity those people had not to a technological college.

That was one of the reasons why I said that, if we had fully developed our post-primary guidance system, many of those who went to university might have been directed, to their benefit, towards technological institutions.

Guidance in our context is largely guidance to a job.

No, it is not. That is a mistaken conception of what our post-primary guidance means.

Unless we have the jobs available within the economy at the end of their training period the guidance will be of no avail. Even if we have guided them to their first aptitude and if jobs are not available, surely we should be eager to retrain them for their second aptitude, if our economy needs that? Most of those people are capable of filling one job ideally and another job 95 per cent correctly. The higher their IQ the more careers they can fill. That is the main fallacy in our whole approach here. We rely too much on the concept of guidance. If we had an economy with full employment and all sorts of diversified openings it would be all right; but in our system flexibility has to be the keynote. The tasks we have laid on AnCo for industry should not be any different from the tasks we would lay on the Higher Education Authority in regard to the products of our third level system. They are entitled to some measure of consideration by the State when at the end of their period of training, through no fault of their own, they find themselves without a position in our economy. If they can be retrained for some position, they have a moral right to that retraining.

The Senator's idea is very good, but I should hate to see retraining immediately a person qualifies say, for a B.A. degree and knows he cannot obtain a position. It would be a dangerous precedent to retrain these people immediately. It would mean rushing people into some other position which they had no intention of taking up originally. You could end up with a lot of square pegs in round holds. I feel that they need some time to see if they can get fixed up.

We have been speaking about the arts faculty but the arts faculty to my mind has always, been a higher grade of general education. It may have been for teaching, but you see at the present time arts graduates in every field, in industry, in teaching and so on. I feel that they should at least try to get the degree, because a person is more likely to make a success of what he has been aiming at over the years than if he goes into another course once he graduates. It is admitting defeat straight away. Let him try, and maybe as time goes on retraining might be possible. I feel it would be a dangerous precedent to start off by burdening An tÚdarás with something like that.

In this I was looking simply from the standpoint of the economy. In other words, we have got to try to ensure that all the various positions in our economy are provided for by our educational system. Where we identify lacks, such as the lack of technicians, than if the regular process of providing them is not capable of providing them fast enough and in the quantities we require, obviously there are other ways and means of doing it. We should be able to follow the same line as in redundancy.

One other point I wish to stress is the great fallacy of our system where a person is trained for a particular task If we could only get the quality of spirit into our graduates I would not mind if everyone in the country had a degree, because at that stage he would recognise that a degree was just a general training that equipped him to go out and do a job better than if he did not have that degree.

If we could get that across we need not worry about redundancies or we need not worry about graduates who cannot get positions in their exact line when they are prepared to go and tackle other lines. Indeed, we can see, if we look at our graduates from various faculties, that the greatest successes have been those who have gone away completely from what they were trained to do and used their talents in the general scope, simply concealing the fact that they had degrees but going and having the confidence in themselves that they have got additional training to equip them to face a challenge, wherever that challenge came from.

Question put and agreed to.
Question proposed: "That section 7 stand part of the Bill".

Section 7 states:

An tÚdarás may annually or at such other intervals as it may determine...

I take it that what is meant there is longer intervals than annually. We shall be looking for monthly or six-monthly reports. I would suggest that we put in "or at such longer intervals as it may determine". "Such other intervals" seems to suggest that they will be down every week looking for the accounts.

We hope that An tÚdarás will be composed of reasonable people.

Yes, but on the other hand——

While it could happen on some occasions that they would require information in a shorter time than a year, usually I would say, it would be annually or longer periods. But it could happen that on some occasions it would be shorter.

Yes, But, on the other hand, we do not want to encourage unnecessary interference by An tÚdarás with the institutions with which it is connected. It seems to me that a statement of financial position etc. at less than yearly intervals is unreal.

It could happen on at least some occasions, but broadly speaking I would say that it would be annual.

Question put and agreed to.
Section 8 agreed to.
Question proposed: "That section 9 stand part of the Bill".

I hope this does not encourage programming too far ahead, which of itself can be very stultifying for institutions. I know we are supposed to be almost two years ahead and it is very hard to anticipate what would be the main requirements in two years.

Of course the State is trying at the moment to operate on a three-yearly basis.

Yes, but is it not a fact that all this programme budgeting is like manpower forecasting, just about as deceptive?

I would not agree.

The experience in the United States, where this originated. has been that now they are beginning to see the fallacies and pitfalls in this and it seems that we are about to rush into it.

Surely we ought to be able to learn from whatever mistakes they made in the United States?

If we can learn that such a thing is not very practicable and has its pitfalls and that it should not be unduly relied on, if we can learn that lesson, well and good, but the euphoria there is about it at the moment does not seem to suggest that we have learned that basic lesson.

I should like to express a completely opposite point of view to Senator Quinlan, lest it be taken that he is expressing a point of view which might be common in the universities From my experience, I should like to say to the Minister that it certainly is my view of feeling in the universities that, particularly where scientific departments are concerned, where budgeting for equipment, technical staff and so on is concerned, the university departments are crying out to have their budgeting and financial arrangements spread over a longer period than an annual basis. They are anxious to get up to three or five years. I am rather astonished at the argument put forward by Senator Quinlan.

I think the Senator misinterpreted me. They are anxious to spread over a number of years, but on the other hand they want to be able to make adjustments and corrections without having to wait two years until the period for adjustment comes up again.

Question put and agreed to.
Question proposed: "That section 10 stand part of the Bill."

Subsection (2) states:

In making assessments under this section in respect of institutions of higher education, An tÚdarás shall have regard to the accommodation capacity for students of each institution and to the maintenance of a reasonable balance in the distribution of the total number of students as between institutions.

I take it that this again will call far some national policy on size. We have not got that yet. When does the Minister expent to be in a position to give some guidance on that? It will have to be done because overall plants for all the institutions are being prepared at the moment. The Higher Education Authority is anxious to have those, and an overall plan commits an institution to a certain size plus or minus 15 or 20 per cent. I think is rather vital that we should have a national policy on that very shortly.

It seems to me that the effect of subsections (1) and (2) taken together is easily read between the lines. What it means is that the Authority is to assess the amounts of money which the various colleges are going to get. These assessments will have regard to accommodation and maintaining a reasonable balance in the distribution of students as between the institutions. When the smoke clears away what that really means is that a college will be told: "We cannot let you have more than £X for the servicing, let us say, of the faculty of arts. That in turn means, if I am not misinterpreting the section, that the college as usual will have to bear the odium of telling the public, "We are very sorry but we will have to axe our intake by one half or cut it down by two-thirds or not take in any more new students this term or this year or introduce a cyclical system," or something like that.

In other words, unless I misunderstood the sense of the section, the point is that the Authority by having regard to these factors, which of course are important factors in making its assessment, is putting the ball squarely in the colleges' court so far as taking politically unpopular decisions is concerned. No one in a university minds taking unpopular decisions. Academics would not be worth a damn if they were not better able than the ordinary layman to do something which did not demand general approval. But it seems to me that there has been too much of this in the past. When University College, Dublin, or some other institution makes a decision and when the pickets arrive at Earlsfort Terrace and the rows start and the sit-ins and representations and all the rest, the Government stay quietly in the backgorund, although it is of course ultimately with the Government that the responsibility for these things rests.

I am not saying that the responsibility means the blame. Obviously there is a limit to the amount of money at the Government's disposal, whether recommended by the Authority or not. But in the past the position has been that decision taken by UCD have been taken not for the convenience of the people who work there as teachers but simply because the place could not take any more students, and still they claim to be functioning properly as an institution of higher education.

My feeling about this section is that it will mean these unpopular decision will be left with the universities and that nothing is to be done to help them to make these decisions or to make them easier to sell to the public. That is all part of the same complex of problem I adverted to here earlier when I asked that the Authority should be given the function of trying to head students off from courses which were either over-crowed or which led to professions which were likely to be overcrowded.

I should simply like to raise on this section a question that was raised earlier on in the definition section, or section 3 paragraph (a). Again the words used here are "an institution of higher education". I would again ask the Minister if he believes this is an adequate way of referring to what I referred to elsewhere as a process of higher education and research?

Senator Kelly spoke about the difficulties that the universites have in relation to this matter of funds. He mentioned that the Government do not take any of the odium of it, that they stay in the background. I do not think it can be said of me since I became Minister that I have been very far in the background when it came to taking decisions, popular or unpopular. It rather amuses me to find members of universities complaining that they are left carrying the can. I think every can that was ever made finally ended up in the Minister's hands. At least I will say in relation to this that in the future under An tÚdarás we will not have every institution operating off their own bat. We will at least have a co-ordinated effort. This in itself will be a very worth while change from the present position. An tÚdarás will be able to take an overall look at the situation, they will be able to assess the overall needs and we will be operating in a much more co-ordinated fashion than at present.

I see in subsection (1) mention of higher education and research. How can this be reconciled with the activities of the Science Council, which has a very definite role in encouraging scientific research and gives very sizeable grants for such work to departments in the various colleges.

I am informed that there is a very definite liaison now between the Science Council and An tÚdarás.

An tÚdarás is at present and ad hoc body, but has it any jurisdiction over the Science Council or does it in any way pass any judgment on the budget of the Science Council?

It has no jurisdiction. As I say, there is a liaison between the Science Council and An tÚdarás.

It is a potential danger point.

Question put and agreed to.

I move amendment No. 13:

In line 41, before "require". to insert "reasonably".

I will be brief about this. I have already mentioned the gist of my point in the debate on the Second Stage. It would be no great concession for the Minister to make if he were to accept this amendment, the purpose of which is to insert the word "reasonably" before the word "require". The section as it stands reads:

An institution of higher education shall supply to An tÚdarás all such information relative to the institution as An tÚdarás may require for the purpose of performing its functions.

That seems to me to put the Authority in a strong position to say: "We require certain information. Whatever you think about it does not matter. The fact is that we think we require it and you will have to hand it over to us. If you do not you will be in breach of your duties under the Act."

It appears to me that there is a range of information at the disposal of an institution such as a school or a college or university about personal matters which is in most respects private information and relevant only to strictly academic matters affecting an individual. A point might be reached at which the Authority for reasons not of a discreditable kind but of a kind which we in this House would not today approve, could look to a university or a college or other institution of higher education and ask for personal details about teachers or students in those institutions, going beyond what the Authority would require for the discharge of its functions as we now understand them and as they are being represented to us by the Minister.

It would be no harm therefore if the Minister would agree to insert the word "reasonably" here so as to give the universities or the colleges some elbow room. I do not anticipate conflict, but there is no harm in trying to put the parties on level terms if there is to be conflict. It would give them some elbow room for saying: "Your requirement in this instance is not reasonable. We do not think it is reasonable that in order to fulfil your functions you should have information about the private arrangements within a department for teaching a particular member of our staff or the view we have taken perhaps in disciplinary matters in regard to certain students or things of that kind.

These are matters which are by no means waving indiscriminately the flag of university autonomy: I think that is overworked. These are things which are within the proper scope of university autonomy and I should be sorry if this Bill were to lend any countenance to an Authority which would seek to breach that autonomy by interfering or by requesting information not really necessary for the proper discharge of its work.

In my reading of it, if "reasonably" were put in there it would take away the whole effect the section would have. It would leave it open to people to say,"We consider it unreasonable" and to refuse to give information that would be required. It would be taking power away from An tÚdarás and giving an excuse to faculties to refuse to give information. It relates to section 7 also and it is one word which could have a bad effect on this Bill and would do a lot of harm. On that account I think it would be taking away power from An tÚdarás.

Senator Crinion, not for the first time this evening, has been good enough to say that the amendment which I put forward would defeat completely this or that or the other object. In this case his argument is based on an assumption which he and his party have been unwilling to make in regard to the Authority itself, that the institutions of higher education here will take leave of their senses and behave in a disruptive way. There is no reason to suppose any such thing. I do not for a moment imagine that any conflict will arise in the kind of atmosphere which exists even at the present day between the institutions of higher education and the State, or that the relationships and the degree of fact shown by the latter towards the former over the last few years had not been perfect. I do not anticipate any great conflict. I do not see why Senator Crinion should assume that the universities or the institutions of higher education will be looking for an excuse to refuse to supply information. They will not be looking for an excuse not to supply information which is reasonably required for the purpose of enabling the Authority to carry out its functions.

The point about this section as it stands is that it seems to allow the Authority to say, "We think it is necessary for performing our functions and no matter what you think we insist on getting this information"—even though it may relate to something which in the reasonable view of you or me or anybody else could not be relevant or central to the Authority's job. We certainly had a polite debate so far today—not like other debates in recent times—and I am sorry to have the sensation of beating my head against a stone wall so much with this Minister, who I know is genuinely interested in providing a decent educational structure so far as he can do it.

It is disappointing to me to find that every time I propose an amendment— or any time any Member proposes an amendment—first of all that a screen of "flak" is thrown up by Senator Crinion, telling us that the thing would completely defeat the purpose of the Bill, and then the Minister dive-bombs in to tell us that the whole thing is being looked after anyway and that we must not worry because his own intentions are the best. That is not the way to deal with amendments. I ask the Minister to try at least to meet some of the amendment that we on this side are putting forward since we have no intention of making political capital out of them.

I should like to support this amendment very strongly. It seems to me that the whole Bill is an attempt to give expression to two separate kinds of relationship: the first, that which must and should exist between the Government and An tÚdarás and the second that which must and should exist between An tÚdarás and the various institutions which it serves.

In this section as drafted—I do not know if I am prejudging the issue too much—in what seems to me to be the Minister's refusal to accept a very reasonable amendment we have the kind of authoritarianism which has become evident recently not only in Government but in many of hour human institutions, and which in this Bill has acted in several sections to tie An tÚdarás too closely to the strings of the Government.

I believe that in drafting this section the Minister has put himself in the position of An tÚdarás and said: "If I were in charge of An tÚdarás, if I could be the whole body corporate myself, what kind of powers would I like to investigate the working of the institutions of higher education?" The present climate being what it is, it would not surprise me at all that the Minister considering himself in the role of An tÚdarás, would like to give himself such wide powers, because it would be a natural extension of an authoritarian point of view. I wonder whether this authoritarian point of view is shared even by the present ad hoc members of An tÚdarás and whether it would be shared by people who would be appointed to An tÚdarás in the future. I should like to think that it is not and it would not and that the Minister, by accepting this reasonable amendment, would give at least momentary set-back to the increasing authoritarianism that is inflicting all our institutions.

We all believe that the members who will appointed to An tÚdarás will be reasonable and I cannot for the life of me see where they will request information that will not be necessary.

I fully support Senators Horgan and Kelly on this. It is a complete reversal of the roles again, giving this authoritarian power to An tÚdarás. I think the word "reasonably" should be put in, as required in the amendment, and there should also be a provision here in case of conflict. If an institution says, "We consider that this demand is unreasonable" then there should be a court of appeal on this. I should be quite wiling to leave that court of appeal with the Minister, but there should be an appeal on this. I hope on Report Stage to move an amendment to that effect.

In many Bills we say, "The minister's decision shall final", or "an appeal to the Minister", and in a case like this I admit it would be very unusual to have to occur, but it is safeguard which the institutions under An tÚdarás should have. If they say that a request is unreasonable they should at least be able to say that they can refer it to the Minister to see whether he opposes it for not. I think this is one very useful function which the Minister could perform.

I have been in the House for a comparatively short number of years but I have had the experience of seeing people running down to the Library to get a dictionary to tell them what "and" and "may" and "if" and all the rest were concerned with.

Mr. de Valera once went to a dictionary.

I did not interrupt the Senators all today. If we put the word "reasonable" in we would have to set up another court of inquiry to decide what the word means. The word "reasonable" could mean one thing to me and another thing to somebody else. I presume that the people to be nominated to An tÚdarás will be sensible people who will not be likely to look for information which they know they are not likely to get. If the universities say to them: "We do not think it is reasonable to ask us for this information" it will be a matter between the two of them. To put in the word "reasonable" would, in my opinion, mean that the members of An tÚdarás would have to make tracks to the libraries again.

If we have any faith in An tÚdarás, and I believe it will fulfil a very important function, I cannot see why we should be splitting hairs over what is reasonable and what is unreasonable. You would eventually have to appoint some other superior body to decide what is reasonable and what is unreasonable. You could go to the faculty of medicine one day and they might consider something was reasonable while the next day you could go to the faculty of arts who might consider the same thing was unreasonable. Each of them would have their own interpretation of what is reasonable.

If this body is to do an important job—and remember it will be an expensive body—and if we have not enough confidence in it I should prefer to see the whole idea scrapped. If they are to fight with the universities as to the meaning of the word "reasonable" we might as well put the whole idea out of our minds.

Perhaps I should first of all assure Senator Kelly that there was no collusion between myself and Senator Crinion in relation to this debate. If senator Crinion wishes to make a contribution, that is his business. Whether he waits to make that contribution until I have made mine or makes it before me is also his business.

Senator Kelly said the universities are reasonable groups of people and would not act unreasonably. It is equally true to say that An tÚdarás will also be a reasonable body and will not act unreasonably. The ad hoc body has shown itself, in its operations since it has been established, to be a very reasonable body which has done a very worthwhile job. If I have not accepted amendments here it is simply because I did not feel the amendments would improve the Bill. If I felt they would have improved it I would have accepted them. If, however, I feel those amendments will not improve the Bill the duty is on me to ensure that the Bill remains as it is.

Nevertheless, the discussions which took place on the various aspects of the Bill were very useful and they will be very helpful to the members of An tÚdarás when that body is established in statutory form. In regard to this amendment I must say—as I have said before and will probably have to say again—that An tÚdarás will act in a responsible manner and will not be unreasonable in the information they will require from institutions under this section.

It is rather surprising that Senators have shown great concern that, on the one hand, An tÚdarás should have quite a wide amount of autonomy and authority and, on the other hand, they seemed to assume that there should be legislative powers to ensure that An tÚdarás will not act unreasonably. As has been mentioned here, the word "reasonably" as proposed in this amendment would result in bad law in that its interpretation would vary widely between on institution and another and between on individual and another. If only for that reason I would find myself having to oppose the amendment. I should also have to oppose it because it bears the implication that An tÚdarás requires to be constrained statutorily in order to fact reasonably. I do not think this should form part of the Bill.

I am sory to have interrupted Senator Honan a moment ago. He spoke about confidence in this Authority. I would certainly like to have confidence in this Authority and what we are trying to do here is to provide the country with an Authority in which we can have confidence. Our objection to this Bill is not an objection so general as to justify us voting against it on the Second Stage, and accordingly we did not vote against it. Our objections to it are that the Authority is not so constructed as to warrant confidence. The debate here today has shown that the Authority will be not just a buffer— it perhaps may be a buffer between the Minister and the universities—but an entirely subservient buffer and one which perhaps will relieve a Minister of some of the political odium which otherwise might attach to a Minister at some time in the future.

We had a debate this morning about academic members during which the Minister would not yield an inch to the suggestion that there should be a hard core of at least seven out of 18 people in full-time academic jobs with a full-time commitment to a university. We did not make even an inch of headway in the long debate this morning on that point. In the provision in regard to the designation of new institutions as institutions of higher education, we had a long debate on that too and again not an inch was yielded. I realise the Minister has good intention in this regard but the Government are prepared to leave us with an Act which will make it possible for the Minister to designate by regulation an institution an being one of higher education over the heads of, and in the teeth perhaps of, unanimous disagreement of the Authority. Let us be clear on this point: that is the law we are to get.

When you put those facts together with the fact that the Government are empowered also to hire and fire all the members of this Authority, it can be seen, as I have described it, as a potentially subservient body. I am then asked to have confidence in such an Authority. I should like to have confidence in an Authority and what we are trying to do here is give the country an Authority in which they can have confidence. An authority which may be a catspaw of the Minister for Education is not a body in which I would have much confidence, particularly when I look at the record of the Minister for Education in the last few years in regard to their proposals for university education and in regard to their attitude towards the only advice which they got from people qualified to give such advice.

I am reaching the stage where I have very little confidence in the Authority we are about to set up. I protest against this touch-me-not attitude towards this authority. We cannot require anything of them. We cannot make any assumptions that are adverse to them in 50 years' time. We cannot require anything ofthem explicitly. we cannot suppose that the Authority may ever go wrong or that a Minister in charge of that body may ever go wrong.

Why not? Why are we not allowed to suppose these things? We are making law, and the letter of the law is what people look at. I wish to say to Senator Honan, in regard to the question about the dictionaries and looking at words, I have always noticed that the people who are the hardest on lawyers, and on law, are the ones who are the quickest themselves to chop a straw, when they have to chop one and to split a hair, when they have to split one.

That is what law is about, I am sorry to say. I know that people make their living out of it and that they are an unpopular profession. However, the only way in which civilised society can continue is by having rules which are incorporated in a permanent form, in black and white, which are as clear as they can be made, and which would enable people to see what their rights are under them. That the idea of putting the word "reasonably" here was to make this now very sweeping section unworkable—as Senator Crinion appeared to think—is simply completely wrong.

In my view it would be much better law to refrain from inserting the word "reasonably" in this section. it is incorrect to suggest that this body would be anything but an autonomous body. It has proved itself over a considerable period to be an autonomous body and to act as an autonomous body. This is accepted by practically everybody. In relation to this particular section it has been very largely worked out between An tÚdarás and the universities as to the manner in which this information will be sought. We could leave it to An tÚdarás and to the universities to work it out.

I do not want to hold up the House. May I take from what the Minister said that section 11, as it now stands, has been arrived at after consultation with the universities and is acceptable to them?

The point I am making is that the manner in which information will be sought has been largely worked out between the universities and An tÚdarás.

Has the Minister got any representations from anyone in the universities about this section 11?

Not to my knowledge.

As a member of the senate, the standing committee, the governing body of University College, Cork, and its academic council, I have never heard anything whatsoever about this, and I doubt it completely. The ad hoc Authority has no statutory position.

My information is that there have been consultations between the HEA and the authorities in the various universities in relation to the manner in which information will be sought.

There have been consultations in regard to presentation to financial account and so on, but section 11 goes far beyond anything relating to financial accounts.

I am simply giving the information I have, and that is that the consultations have taken place in relation to the manner in which this information will be made available.

Only the financial information.

Not statistical information.

That is what we are worried about. It puts the Authority in a position to demand all types of information on academic affairs.

The Senator mentioned the statistical aspect of it. That is part of section 11.

We are not worried about the financial side, we are more worried——

That is my information.

Amendment put and declared lost.
Progress reported; Committee to sit again.
The Seanad adjourned at 10.10 p.m. until 10.30 a.m. on Thursday, 15th July, 1971.