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Seanad Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 26 Nov 1980

Vol. 95 No. 3

National Institute for Higher Education, Dublin, Bill, 1980: Second Stage (Resumed).

Question again proposed: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."

On the previous day I was expressing approval of the principle of the Bill. I had stopped at the point where I said I fully agreed with the Minister's view that the National Council for Educational Awards are the appropriate body to validate the degrees of the National Institute. That does not mean, of course, that there should not be maximum mobility between students and staff of the non-university institutes and the traditional universities. The more graduates we have from these now proliferating new institutions the more graduates we have coming on stream, the more imperative it is to ensure that there will be real mobility between the traditional universities and the new institutions.

There are other things about the institution itself and the Bill which I like and further interesting information was supplied in the Sunday Independent in a feature on the National Institute for Higher Education in Dublin. All of us must approve of the fact that 5 per cent to 10 per cent of places are occupied by mature students. Thus, the institute fulfils the responsibility which must lie on all institutions to give a second chance to adults, which they are frequently denied in youth. I am glad that the institute is implementing this principle of recurrent adult education.

The admission procedure strikes me as very sensible. As the Minister knows, the traditional universities are not terribly happy with the present selection method. People make the point that it is the fairest from the point of view of justice and so on, but we may well query whether the most appropriate people select the proper professions. I applaud the principle of the aptitude test and regret only that we cannot or we do not, implement it in the universities.

I must anticipate Senator Hussey by saying that I warmly welcome the fact that according to the Sunday Independent last Sunday 40 per cent of the students are women, which is a very good statistic indeed. There are other sections in the Bill, like the one which provides against vested interests or possible corruption by members of the governing body, which again are very welcome. It is a pity then, that I cannot give the Bill an unqualified welcome.

The Minister suggested that because the Limerick legislation had been dealt with — and he implied had been improved — he hoped we would not delay unduly on this particular Bill. The rather clever suggestion was there that we had improved the Limerick Bill and the objections to it had been overcome. I would like to remind the House that all the amendments put forward in the Seanad were either withdrawn or lost, and the Bill, as finally passed, incorporated all the defects to which I and other Senators objected when we discussed it before the summer recess. That Bill, which passed with all its defects, is almost the exact model for the one before us today. It cannot be expected in reason that the Bill can pass without some protest. It is surprising that in the other House no reference was made to what I regard as the central flaw in the Bill, namely, the principle of ministerial, departmental or civil service interference.

The main objection I have to the Bill is that the principle of ministerial supervision is everywhere, as strong as ever, as unrepentant as ever. The word "Minister" is a misleading word because it does not mean the man of eminent reason, the present incumbent. It means the Department, the civil service, or it might mean a future Minister who might be much more bloody-minded.

This excessive and bureaucratic interference is all over the Bill. It is particularly evident in the manner in which the governing body are to be appointed. I shall deal with that later on Committee Stage. Of the 23 ordinary members, according to my calculation, 16 will be, in effect, ministerial nominees, giving the Department a massive majority in the governing body. The curious thing about this is, that in the Bill which is next to be dealt with in the House today, that dealing with Thomond, the ministerial nominees account for only something like seven or possibly at the most 10, out of 23. The composition of the governing body here is largely determined by the Minister. That is very undesirable.

One would think that having shaped the governing body in his own image and likeness, the Minister would be prepared to leave the running of affairs to that, obviously, docile governing body, but not so. Having settled the governing body, the Minister goes on to underline in clause after clause his control of the institute. Why is it that such preponderant departmental influence is required in the case of the National Institutes at Dublin and Limerick? Why, for example, is it that in the traditional universities the number of Government nominees is a mere handful? In University College, Dublin, there are only four government nominees out of a governing body of about 34 or 35. Why is such strong departmental representation considered necessary in the case of the institutes and not in the traditional universities? Is it envisaged that the composition of the governing body here before us in the Bill is to serve as a model for the university governing bodies as well?

Non-academics may say "But why not, is not the principle of public accountability and ministerial and Government accountability essential when public moneys are being spent?" Nobody from the universities or from the institutes would dispute the need for public accountability but that is not the same as ministerial suffocation. Financial accountability is specifically spelt out in section 14 of the Bill.

There is failure here to trust the institutes and their staff and to trust their academic responsibility. Academic independence does not mean academic eccentricity. It does not mean ivory tower irresponsibility. The Minister is not trusting the governing body and the academics in these institutes.

It has been suggested that the reason for this neurotic obsession with control over the new institutes is the fear in the Department of Education that there might be what is called "academic drift" in these essentially technological institutes and it is necessary to write in this measure of control in order to safeguard against academic drift. If there is something in that argument it would seem to be cancelled out by the fact that Limerick and Dublin have had an ad hoc existence and during that ad hoc existence no one has accused them of having this distemper of academic drift.

One must reflect once more, looking around the country at other institutes of higher education, on the fact that public moneys are generously bestowed on an institute not 30 or 40 miles from here and that there is no measure whatsoever of public accountability, quite the reverse. Does the Minister propose in his new University Bill to establish the same measure of public accountability in the case of the recognised college at May-nooth? The Minister also said that the passage of this Bill will help to expedite the legislation for the Thomond one, which is coming up, and for the new universities. Perhaps he might be a little bit more forthcoming with some information at this stage. Those of us immediately involved are very anxious to know when we may expect the legislation on the universities. Obviously our interest in this is rather more than academic.

Very soon.

Would the Minister indicate whether the governance of the new universities is to be recast radically along the lines of a semi-State body, because this is what the national institute in Dublin is? He may say that the people in Dublin are quite happy with the Bill and that they have not protested about it. That may be so, but that is because they know it is a waste of time. I do not propose to table any amendments because I understand there is no chance of changing anything in this Bill since the Limerick one is already enacted and operating. It is important, nonetheless, to make these points.

I believe the attitude of the people in Dublin and Limerick is "let us hope for the best and let us hope that the ever-present spectre of ministerial interference will not, in effect, materialise". My information is that it has already materialised and that the day-to-day running of these institutes is being interfered with by the Department. There is a specific matter, for example, that when staff are being appointed the institutes have power to appoint their own staff through the usual procedure but when it comes to awarding an increment, then the Department, in effect, are saying what increment should be awarded. If it is proposed to put a successful candidate above the minimum, immediately massive amounts of information are being looked for by the Department. In this one respect at least there is already considerable day-to-day interference in the running of the institutes.

There is another point about the inaability of the governing body to suspend staff without consultation with the Department. I should like to refer to that again on Committee Stage. There is a more general principle here which transcends the issue of education. If you plan to have a considerable amount of supervision from the civil service over an educational institute, there are two possibilities. To implement this supervision you have to recruit extra staff in the Department.

We are talking here about an extension of public sector expenditure in an area where it is not wanted and which is in contradiction to the prevailing economic wisdom of cutting back public expenditure. Alternatively, you do not increase your staff in the Department and that means that the delays then become substantial and the level of bureaucratic interference becomes even greater as the existing staff have to cope with their increased responsibilities. For all these reasons I object to the Bill.

I see no justification for the intrusive, all-pervading presence of the Department. I cannot see how the principle of academic independence and flexibility can be compatible with this extension of ministerial power. I am sure the Minister will agree that you cannot have one kind of sauce for the academic gander and another for the non-traditional goose. If there is substantial civil service interference it should apply no less to the traditional universities than it does to the technologically-oriented institutes. Would the Minister concede the logic of that situation?

I should like to stress again for the record, though a while ago I said semi-facetiously that we were all very concerned about the future university legislation, that I am concerned for these institutes in Dublin and Limerick for their own sake, not simply because I am afraid of the shadows they are casting ahead.

Suspicion will begin to arise in mind about that.

The Minister will forgive me if I conclude on an awful but brilliant literary pun. He may in his reply say to me, ask not for whom this Bill tolls, it tolls for thee,

I should like to welcome this Bill. The House will recognise from the enthusiastic welcome I gave the Limerick NIHE Bill that I feel the same about Dublin. The general points I made at that time, which are on the record, still stand in terms of the need for an institute of this kind.

This institute will present a different strategy in education terms. We see signs of that already. We had a visit from the director to Leinster House. Some of us heard the presentation made by him and his staff. It was very impressive and encouraging. I wonder if it is not time to push ahead with linking the extra regional technical colleges into this institute in the Dublin area. I should like to see some of these colleges appearing in the fast-growing suburban communities in Dublin.

An explosion in investment has been going or in education over the last decade. We have had the nine regional technical colleges, the NIHE, Limerick, Thomond—about which there is a Bill— and the NIHE, Dublin. It is a tremendous amount of investment but this part of the natural development of our country, with the population growing so fast, particularly in the younger age groups. It is natural that this investment would grow at a massive rate. At the same time, I would like to see the regional technical colleges in Dublin moving faster and perhaps with a somewhat diffeent design in terms of relationship with an institute like the NIHE, Dublin. This raises the question of the role of the other third level portions of the vocational institutions in Bolton Street, Kevin Street, Rathmines and Parnell Square. There is a difficulty there which must be tackled. We are all aware of it.

The coming into existence of the NIHE, Dublin, is a major step. It provides another alernative. I am not certain at this stage what the best format is. It is a tricky one. I am sure it is occupying the Minister's attention, but it remains a problem. Some of my familiy are attending these colleges. I know the situation in them. Something will have to be done. Normally, in situations like this in the academic world, those who are in power in the various institutions are slow to change. This is a recognisable principle in sociology and many other kinds of "ologies", but it is a problem and it must be tackled. Maybe the growth of NIHE, Dublin, will give us some of the answers

Given the fact that we have to develop a more effective industrial base, we need better and more modern industries to give employment to our growing population. We recognise that the educational system has to encourage students to take courses which will put them in a position to fill the kind of jobs that will be available. There is a definite improvement there at the moment but the projection of employment in the industrial sector is such that I am worried that there will be a reaction against the acceptance of some grouping of the subjects taken in colleges which are to be technological. We have got to take some steps to encourage people to go in that direction.

I made the suggestion in the House a couple of years ago, when we were talking about these matters, that maybe some preferential treatment would be given to students who went in that direction in terms of support. I did not get much of a reception from the House, the Minister or the media. I still think something like that may be necessary. In a recent visit I made to one of the colleges I heard some discussions going on and the students' reaction was "why should I work in a factory when I can be a teacher?" These are matters which I think will be of concern to us. At present we are employing 230,000 in manufacturing and by the year 1990 there will be something like 350,000 if we are to have a healthy economy then. That is why we should encourage people to take technology subjects.

The question of mobility was raised by Senator Murphy. The National Council for Educational Awards have a very well worked out scheme which is set up to encourage people to move from one stream to another if the educational requirement or the individual's capacity or motivation warrant it. There is a very good scheme to encourage mobility between the different streams. It would be dangerous if colleges wanted to take degrees from universities as opposed to the National Council for Educational Awards. I see that having the seeds of destruction in it. If that is what the Senator had in mind I am against it. If the free movement of students from one stream to another, depending on their development is what he has in mind I support it fully.

The difficulty of the traditional argument between the acedemic and the practice comes out here periodically. It is worth while remembering that the environment in which we all live is changing so quickly that the scholars are finding it difficult to catch up and stay with it. When we say that students are reading for engineering or for science, they are reading what is on the shelves. What is happening in the laboratories of industry is outdistancing what is written on the shelves.

We cannot just have people who are very good at accepting literature, summarising it, taking some aspect of it and adding their own bit of research to it, which is a traditionally scholarly process but may not be sufficient. I make that point in defence in new types of institutions. I had the opportunity recently to take part in a discussion with some students of my own institute who graduated some time back at the M. Sc. level in the practice of management. What some of them had to say about developments in industry and the use of robots was quite frightening. We cannot sit back and ignore these developments. I know that periodically over the years these kinds of questions have been raised. I believe that now, because of the development of the microchip, things we feared bin the past are upon us and we have to be ready for them. I see institutions like NIHE, Limerick and NIHE, Dublin, ensuring that we are ready.

Another area I am worried about in these institutions is the whole question of thev Irish language. My position on this is schizophrenic in ways, because on the one hand I would be recognised as somebody who is a great supporter of the development of the Irish language. As chairman of the Irish language council for five or six years I was very much linked with it. At the same time I am talking about the development of technology.

The important thing is that these institutions have the commitment and know that is is national policy to develop a bilingual State in this country. Anybody who does not accept that should get off the wagon as far as I am concerned. It does not mean that individuals do not have a democratic right to have their own views, but once they accept the policy within which institutions are run they have to go along with the implications of it. The implications of a bilingual policy are that all individuals must be able to speak both languages even if they only speak one of them for 5 per cent of the time. It is an important principle, Bilingualism is not 5 per cent of the people talking Irish and 95 per cent of the people talking English. Bilingualism means that most of the people in the country, that is in excess of 90 per cent, know both languagres and use them according to some social convention.

These colleges had better put into line as far as that is concerned, I am not sure how that will happen. Certainly, responsibility for the Irish language must be placed unequivocally on the shoulders of some individual in these colleges. The danger, of course, here is that the best staff will have to be hired for the particular technologies being covered and they may not always have Irish.

I am not advocating that these technologies be taught through Irish. I am talking about the environment, the spirit and the culture of the institutions. We have a problem here too. It has to be tackled and we cannot run away from it. It is not something that we can run up the mast on various national occasions and salute for the day and then forget about it for the rest of the year.

In a recent visit to a well know teacher's institution to discuss matters of education I must say I was extremely disappointedand a bit shocked that there was not one contribution from the floor of the hall of that teachers institution through the medium of Irish. If our teachers do not do we it are in trouble. I raise that today because we are putting through so much educational legislation at the moment. I am a just little bit worried that we will forget along the way about the basic cultural objective of the country in which the language clearly is on top of the priority list, if not at the very very top.

I again welcome the Bill and I assure the Minister of my support.

I join in the welcome extended to the Bill. It is on the same lines as the discussion we had here about the NIHE, Limerick, only a matter of months ago, and i do not propose to speak at any great length. If a person approaches a measure like this without attempting to be critical for the sake of criticism it must be admitted that this Bill will provide third level education for thousands more of our young people and is to be welcomed. We must be aware of the Bill will provide education for people and turn out people with knowledge and skill in the very things that are wanted most. That has to be admitted right off the reel. I read a number of times recently where the chairman or president of the FUE has said a number of times that there are 13 to 14 basic skills in short supply for the development of industry. That has been stated by a person in a position to know and I have not seen it contradicted. He went on to say that on a number of occasions new industry and development in this industry decided in this country meant that people had to be brought back here who had acquired skills in England or abroad. It is a very good thing if our industrial development progresses to such a degree that we would be in a position to bring back home people who went abroad to earn a living and, in the process, acquired skills that we required later on. At the same time it is a sad commentary on our own educational system if we are not geared to turning out people with these skills from the educational machine, to use that rather crude expression. In so far as this Bill, taken in conjunction with the one that is now an Act, will eliminate these shortcomings, then without any hesitation it must be welcomed, and if there are little criticisms about some things being omitted that we would like to see in or things included that we would like to see out, they should be put in perspective. We should note that the Bill is before us, what it aims to do and welcome it.

I believe the Institute in Dublin will help to fill gaps that occured in the past. There was, undoubtedly, too great an emphasis on the academic side for the relatively smallish numbers who were getting third level education in this country in the past. As a member of a vocational committee, I sit frequently on appointment committees. When one vacancy comes up to appoint a teacher of, say, english and history we had 120 applicants but for a teacher of mechanical engineering, woodwork or metalwork it often happened that because the number of applicants was so small, as a temporary measure we had to appoint a person who was not fully qualified. That is a fact, and it happens in County Cavan, the Minister's own county, and I am quite certain that is happening all over the 26 counties. Furthermore, I need not refer to it at this stage but in the Bill that is to be discussed later with regard to Thomond College it was a fact that, if we wanted to introduce physical education we had to have, in the case of male teachers, somebody trained in England and, very often, we had no applicant at all.

In so far as the next Bill in regard to Thomond College will eliminate that, it is welcome, and in so far as this one here will put committees into the position of being able to qualify fully qualified teachers in these subjects to serve the schools out in remote provincial areas it is very welcome. I welcome it wholeheartedly because of the benefit I can see it will confer on the pupils in remote provincial areas who have not had the opportunity of a complete second level education because of the difficulties in providing the teachers to teach the subjects that the committee and the parents want. If this institute in dublin, in conjunction with the one in Limerick, removes that difficulty, it will have done a great service to education.

I read with great interest the discussion in the Dáil on this subject by the Minister, by Deputy Collins, the Fine Gael spokesman on education, and the Labour spokesman, Deputy Horgan. I was impressed by the contributions made by each of the three. The Minister, in referring to people in this country being in a hurry out of the level of education they were in struck a very important note. It is on column 934 of the Dáil Official Report for 29 October. I put it on record before in this House that we are in too much of a hurry out of all our educational institutions, that we are into the third level too quickly and very ambitious to get out at a very young age. I should like to hear the Minister for Education say that when introducing a Bill on those educational matters, because it is a fact. There is too great a hurry on the part of parents to get children from the primary level into the secondary level. Having got to the secondary level there is too great a rush to get into the third level, and the end of all that is an appalling failure rate at first year in university examinations. I am sorry for making this remark but I know it to be true.

Part of the reason for children being taken from primary level to secondary level is, in some degree, attributable to secondary schools. They are so anxious to build up the number of students in order to entitle them to be rated as a special category that they encourage them to do so at 11, or barely 11, with a tidy plus. Having done five years at secondary level they enter university at 16 or 17. Some of them are still too immature. Certainly they have not reached the stage of maturity where they are able to cope with the university environment or be taught by lecturers or professors as distinct from the way they were taught at secondary level by teachers who, because of small classes, had an opportunity to give them individual attention.

Launching people into a world with which they were not able to cope at an immature age has led to great numbers of failures and then cramming in the summer months to do repeats. They have no opportunity to enjoy the summer break to which they are entitled. It contributes to driving people to drugs, alcohol and so on, to break down the tensions they are living through.

I was glad to see that the Minister made a statement in the Dáil on 29 October and I hope in so far as he can alter that approach to education, that he will. Another very pleasing feature with regard to the NIHE, Dublin, and a matter to which I have given a good lot of thought over the last number of years, is the introduction of an aptitude test. I was glad to hear Senator Murphy say that the points system as operated in the university does not meet with complete satisfaction of all people at university level. It has been in operation long enogh now for people to know it is not a success. The director and staff of the NIHE, Dublin, who indicated to a spokesman of the Seanad and Dáil, when they met in this House some months ago, that they were giving serious consideration to the introduction of an aptitude test, should be complimented.

Some years ago entry into the national teachers' training colleges depended entirely on the result of an exam in oral Irish, English and singing, and a needlework in the case of a girl. After a number of year it was found that that was not wholly suitable and now if the candidate qualifies with regard to the number of marks obtained in the leaving certificate, he or she is interviewed. One hundred per cent academic excellence does not, of itself, mean that a person has the makings or the qualities of a good teacher. The boy or girl who gets perhaps only 70 per cent all around could have the qualities of human kindness and so on to a greater degree than the person who is an egghead and gets 98 or 99 per cent. Some allowance must be made for that and they think that can be done in the course of these interviews. I think that is why these interviews were introduced with regard to the recruitment of national teachers. They have been a success. The very same qualities could be applied to some professions. Whoever worked out that an honours maths paper is almost an essential to get enough points to qualify for medicine was entirely wrong. There might be some justification for that with regard to specialists, but what endeared successful GPs to their patients and to the population of the country in general was what was known as a bedside manner. A person who got honours in englidsh or irish, or domestic science for that matter, would be just as likely, or perhaps more likely, to have this bedside manner that is such a help to suffering people as the hard-headed fellow with his 95 per cent in honours maths. That system of selection is more likely to turn out people who are not actually suited to the type of profession for which they qualified on the points system.

In so far as the NIHE, Dublin, is to have an aptitude test which will, as I understand it, be geared to finding out the suitability or the capabilities, be they latent or obvious, of the candidate for the profession he or she is choosing to follow, it will, in the long run, do a good job. It may not be 100 per cent successful in the initial stages, and I could not reasonably expect that degree of excellence, but I am convinced that eventually it will be.

Senator Murphy referred to amendments with regard to the NIHE, Limerick. This party put down a number of amendments. I was the spokesman on that day and I withdrew a number of them because I was satisfied that the answers given by the Minister, when replying to the case made for these amendments, did remove some of the doubts I had with regard to what the Bill contained. For that reason I withdrew them. I was not happy about one amendment which was withdrawn and I am still unhappy. I am not going to develop it at great length today. I thought that day and I still think it is a mistake to have too much ministerial control over these types of institutions. On that point I agree with Senator Murphy. Sixteen out of 23 are too many.

Take, for example, the health boards; although the Minister for Health makes nominations, he does not have the majority on the health boards, and they are operating satisfactorily. The State, whether it exercises it or not, has power to have a strangehold over education. The Minister is not likely to encourage a strangehold on education, but he will not always be Minister. I put this suggestion to the Minister, not that it can be acted on now, because the Bill is going through, and perhaps the Minister will take this objection as a relatively minor one, but it struck me when Senator Murphy was speaking about the constitution of the governing body of the university. The General Council of County Councils nominates five or six of the governing body of the university. As far as I know, it works reasonably well. I have not seen any great outcry against it. The vocational education committees should be given the honour of nominating a specified number of directors to this type of education.

My objections to the Bill are relatively minor. In general, I am wholeheartedly in favour of it. I am glad to see it being introduced. I compliment the Minister on it. I wish this development every success because not only it will offer opportunity of third level education to a growing number of people, it will educate them to fill the vacancies that exist. It will enable education at lower levels to function satisfactorily and efficiently, especially in areas of remote from the capital city where it is often difficult to get trained and professional personnel to take up appointments.

We are dealing here with legislation of fundamental importance. The setting up of a new third level institution in any circumstances would have far-ranging impact on the community and on the country. This Bill establishing NIHE, Dublin, is of particular importance and will have far reaching effects on our community in the city, and also throughout the country. There is a growing demand for places in third level education. Any public representative is aware of this, not just from individual representations or cases brought to him at certain times of the year but from his entry into the situation and the discussion of the problems of gaining entry to institutions.

We are all familiar with the anxiety, frustration and heartbreak which occur year in, year out, for many talented young people who, through problems of space and other restrictions, cannot pursue a course of studyto get them into their chosen profession. That is a problem of the greatest magnitude for any young person and, obviously, has a great effect on their whole career and their whole life. For that reason, the timing of this bill is of fundamental importance. I do not understand any anxiety which might arise. We may creating too many places in third level education. For the reasons I have given, the demand is so great for top quality technological and other third level education that that is the anxiety of possibility of creating too many places. It is something which would get a very rueful reaction from many of the young people to whom I have referred. With regard to science, engineering and commerce and with particular reference to the establishment of the college of commerce, the development of the existing commerce degree over recent years has been very marked and of very great benefit to the whole area of commerce. I am not just referring to the universities but also, from my own experience, both as a student and former member of the council of the college, to the historic role which has been played for many years by the college of commerce in Rathmines. In paying tribute to the tremendous work of the college of commerce and all third level colleges in Dublin, I am glad the Minister commented on the hight quality of their standards. It is important that that be acknowledged, because it is important to emphasise the co-responsibilty of all the third level institutes.

I do not understand criticisms as to potential conflict between the various colleges. They have a common objective, the provision of the highest quality of third level education. In the case of NIHE, Dublin, the provision for the inclusion on the governing body of people with a background in the colleges, RTCs, and vocational colleges in the Dublin VEC system, would help promote co-ordination rather than any problems about conflict. The technological bias to which the Minister referred is particularly important in the context of our industrial and employment situation. Many of the traditional industries, very often the highly labour intensive industries, for various reasons, are going through difficult times. That is applicablke not just in Ireland but throughout the western world. They are meeting competition from the East and from new products. Traditional industries, where they built up a great reservoir of talent and knowhow, can also build problems which confine them in their flexibility and in their ability to change.

For all these reasons many of the traditional industries which have great employment and were very labour intensive are meeting a type of competition from which it is not easy to see them emerging unscathed. More and more it is true that future for the western world is in investment in technology and in industries based on advanced technology. That is the way we are being pushed. In addition to that it is probably the correct way for us to go in any event. It provides a new opening, new opportunities for management systems, new opportunities for employment, for new skills, without any of the problems of inflexibility which through the course of time attach themselves to traditional industries.

For that reason, which will have a basic effect on our employment creation in the future, the setting up a third level institution with this technological bias is of the greatest importance and will play a huge role not just in the future of our education but will play a very practical role in the future of our industrial base and in the employment of our young people. We are all very familiar with the good side of democracy in this country, the rate at which our population is growing and the percentage to which younger people participate in the population. That presents problems which this Bill is moving to help because it is providing investment in creating new places. It has been said before and it is important to say it over and over again, it also presents not only an equal opportunity but a disproportionate opportunity, because if we provide these education opportunities, provide skills, basic training in new skills, then we would have a comparative advantage over our competitors not just within the European Community where in many cases up to now they have had advantages over us, but throughout the whole highly competitive trading world. "Educate that you may be free" is a very important famous phrase used probably in the past in a different context but it has a very real application in this context also. If we do not provide this type of investment, if we do not provide this type of skill training, then we are not going to have the economic freedom which is so essential if we are to preserve our political freedom.

On the question of admission of students I should like to refer briefly to a point which Senator O'Brien referred to, that is the inclusion of the aptitude test with the points system. I think this is a very progressive move, one that probably places NIHE Dublin in the forefront. There have been very great problems associated with the points system. It has produced results which were at times unfair or unreasonable, at times absurd. It has not always worked that way but it did exclude the question of judgment, the question of flexibility, the possibility of taking into account the human factors, people who perhaps maybe for family reasons or for other reasons have a very definite aptitude for a certain career but who because of a certain record at second level or how they were adjudged to have finished in the leaving certificate have not been given the opportunity to enter into a particular course. The attachment of the aptitude test in the assessment of students for admission perhaps will now give us the best of both worlds. It is a very progressive and forward looking factor to include in the assessment, and one I welcome very much.

In connection with students, I want to make the point that as our student population grows there are other requirements to build up around that, outside campus life: the whole question of accommodation is one which costs a great deal of anxiety both for the students, their families and for the community generally. There are situations in Dublin where students for one reason or another have to put up with accommodation which is not satisfactory because of over-intensification, because of lack of facilities in the particular accommodation they have and in the community in which that accommodation tends to be, adjacent to universities or other third level colleges. At a time like this, with the setting up of the college of commerce and future developments in Ballymun, we are likely to find this type of problem cropping up again, and this is an opportunity to plan on a wider basis for these accommodation problems and to ensure that not only will reasonable facilities be available for the students but they can become part of the communities which they enter as guests for their period of study and can contribute to them. In that way we would avoid this ramshackle over-intensified, hastily converted accommodation situation.

While dealing with this subject, it is appropriate to make this point to students. They will be, no doubt, as students are, well capable of making their own point and campaigning for their own rights, and they are quite correct in doing that and they have a perfect right to do that. But for the reasons. I have mentioned, difficulty of selection, lack of space, they should always remember that they are getting opportunities which are not available to other people who may want them and that they will benefit out of the investment that is put into the education in which they are participating during the years they are there. it is probably right to say, having made the case for their accommodation and other requirements, that in campaigning for their rights they should also remember and acknowledge their responsibilities. If I was to say that to an older group of people who, depending on one's point of view, are either wiser in the ways of the world or more cynical, I probably would not make it at all because it would be nothing more than a pious hope. But with the natural enthusiasm of students it is possible, and it frequently happens, that we get this acknowledgement of others people's rights. In campaigning and in looking for facilities inside and outside third level institutions, it has always to be borne in mind, particularly in times of economic stringency, that what is given in one place cannot be given in a second place, and therefore we have to look at the overall social situation in allocating our scarce resources.

Before I conclude I wish to acknowledge, as someone who has had the honour and the benefit of being on the governing body, the tremendous work the governing body have done since their institution. A tremendous amount has been achieved and it is right to acknowledge that here—indeed, the Minister acknowledged it in his opening speech.

The work of establishing the institute, the planning, the direction, has been done with tremendous dedication by people who have given their time very generously. The direction by the chairman of the governing body and the previous chairman and the director has been an inspiration to those who know first hand the work they have done and from which the students will now be able to benefit. We have a piece of legislation here of the most fundamental importance. Its far-ranging, beneficial consequences for this community outweigh many of the Bills that come before us and to which we devote a great deal more time and a great deal of debate. That, perhaps, is just the way things happen but I am particularly pleased to welcome thois Bill.

I join with Senators in welcoming this Bill. I canot see how anybody could not welcome such funda- mental improvements in third level education in Ireland. Obviously, one fully accepts it is biased towards technology which is a development forced on us and which we should welcome as we are welcoming it with regard to this institute.

Senator Donnelly spoke about the necessity to provide more places for students to choose their courses. I believe that that is the basic reason why we are welcoming this Bill. There obviously may be a crisis in third level education from pressure on places from a rapidly growing population, which places a unique strain on the educational system here compared to what other countries are going through. The fact that we will not be able to accommodate all the people looking for third level education while this population explosion goes on has enormous implications for the future. I am sure that that is very much in the Minister's mind and obviously should be in the mind of anybody planning for future education in Ireland.

How different the situation is today from the time when I was going through second level education. I was in the fortunate position of being able to decide what I would do, not whether I would be able to go into third level at all. A disgraceful situation, of course, existed then: if your parents had a few bob you could go to a university. There were remarks made about the inhabitants of the universities at that time, that they were "the cream of the country, rich and thick", because it had to do with the position your parents held.

The situation has evolved slowly over the years and now, money or no money, you cannot get into third level education because of sheer numbers. We have arrived at the extraordinary weeding out process described as the points system. I find it very sad talking to second level students of 15, 16 and 17 years of age who have enormous worries in their young heads, first about job prospects and now accompanied by the prospect of any kind of third level opportunity. It was far from that kind of worry that a great many of us were raised and it is very sad to hear bright young people fearing for their prospects and talking about travelling to get their third level education if they could possibly do so.

I wonder what kind of money investment in bricks and mortar will be necessary even to sustain the demand for third level education, to sustain the way we respond to it now, in ten years time. What are the projections for the entry of second level students into third level education in ten years time? Will there be more or fewer than the very low level now, the lowest level in the EEC, for entry to third level education? Even to sustain the present ratio, what kind of investment will be needed? I have heard the figure £250 million in today's prices being mentioned. I do not know if that is an accurate figure or not. I would very much like to know that projection.

Senator Murphy referred to a matter which I had not intended to raise at all, but since he raised it I will raise it — I am glad he reminded me. It is the welcome given to the fact that 40 per cent of the intake to the NIHE, Dublin, were women. Of course, when you consider that a great many more girls than boys do the leaving certificate and a great many more girls than boys do well in the leaving certificate, 40 per cent girls going into this level of education is not at all something to be delighted about. It is very slow progress towards an ideal situation. There were 151,000 girls — the figures are taken from the Department of Education for 1978-79 — studying at secondary level compared with 141,000 boys. The girls achieved better results than the boys in 19 out of 25 subjects studied in common. At third level education there were 21,000 boys and 15,000 girls. Something has happened there. There has been a gap between second and third level education which implies to me a great wastage of a number of bright young women who have opted out of education in far greater numbers than boys. This is a problem which has been put before the Minister by many more than I and which should be tackled.

When the NIHE, Dublin, people came to see us in Leinster House and we attended their very interesting talks they had no specific plans to attract women students with high results into the nontraditional areas. I should like to put on record that I am not satisfied with the 40 per cent intake. I should like to see it much higher and spread across a wide range of subjects.

The selection procedure has been mentioned and obviously the introduction of a wider criterion than just a point from the leaving certificate is extremely important. The term "aptitude test" raises all sorts of alarm bells in my mind. Aptitude tests have been less than 100 per cent efficient in forecasting subsequent achievements. I have in mind a young woman who was given the full range of the might of the psychology department of UCD a few years ago. Her parents decided that she should be tested to see what could she do, what should she do, and the results after attending on a couple of Saturday mornings and having all sorts of tests done which were going definitively to tell her relations what she could do, came up with the sum that she did not have that much aptitude for anything and she perhaps should consider a career as an air hostess. She subsequently got an enormous number of honours in her leaving certificate and became a member of the legal profession and is doing very nicely.

That was supposed to be a real first class aptitude test. I feel slightly sceptical about aptitude tests. I am wondering why there has not been reference to the concept of continuous assessment in schools. Speaking to some school principals, I understand more and more employers are asking for the school records, and more and more schools are carrying out continuous assessments on students, more on the American style, which tells a great deal about young persons who have been at the same school for a number of years. Their overall involvement and participation in different kinds of activities in the school, their relationship with their teachers as well as their straightforward academic achievements are all relevant.

In a country as small as this we have and will have the great problem — this is why we have a points system — of accusations of favouritism, of corruption. That is an enormous stumbling block, and we fall back on the safe method of unanimity and higher points. The points system is a blunt instrument. What kind of aptitude test is it? I hope the NIHE will conduct more research into different ways of selecting students.

Senator FitzGerald said that among the courses on offer from the NIHE, there is not a course on what he described as "government". There was a riposte to that, that nobody in government had ever done courses in government and still they might be doing all right. It is a moot point whether they are doing all right.

He actually did not say that. I was hoping he would, but he did not.

I will say it now. I believe very strongly that with the enormous young population we have we must give them the opportunity to have courses in government, in citizenship in a broad range, in how the country works, how public administration works, how local government works; theories of government from all over the world. I did a degree which was described as "political science". I knew Fanny Adams about how the country worked but I had a couple of theories of how the country was supposed to work. In a democracy where we will have such a huge preponderance of young people facing very difficult economic circumstances for some time to come, I would be very happy to think that both in the schools and at some third level institutions they could come out of the education system understanding fully the way the political system works, and if they wish to reject that system or to replace it, they could do so from a position of strength and knowledge rather than a position of ignorance.

The NIHE, Dublin, is to have a very fine course on communications studies. I believe that that is extremely good. Teaching communications without knowledge of government means we have our priorities slightly wrong: there is too much emphasis on communications and too little on what you are actually saying.

There is a provision which is very welcome, to have a certain percentage of mature students in NIHE. I wonder how long, under the considerable pressure there will be from the school leaver to get places in this institution, will the percentage which will be put aside for mature students be sustained.

I would make a plea for second chance education, call it what you will. When I was in the United States this year I was extraordinarily struck by the number of people, particularly women between the ages of about 35 and 45, who were going back to school. They were going to embark on courses of study and they were going to get jobs afterwards. The situation in the United States is that there is not the kind of pressure on third level, except for some very elite colleges, that there is here. There are many opportunities for that kind of second class education. I hope that percentage for mature students in the NIHE will always be a feature, that it will be a feature of institutions, and an increasing feature at that.

It is also noticeable that "the distant study unit", as it is called, will be a feature of NIHE, Dublin. I believe that because of the pressures on the system, distant study or open university may have to be a major factor in educating people in this country.

NIHE is starting computer courses, communications studies. It will liaise with industry on technology. It will be a major development in the whole area of technology. I should like to bring out the idea that the NIHE would use this opportunity of having these different disciplines under the one roof to help us to use technology to educate, to develop the whole technology of education so that we may be able to face the demands on education which exist. The prospectus states:

The Institute will also make its facilities and staffs available to assist in the solution of industrial and business problems and for advisory purposes.

I would hope that it will also assist in the solution of political and educational problems which are going to be very pressing. Of course, I welcome this Bill. I hope we will be able to find the resources to educate a much higher proportion of our young people at third level.

I, too, welcome the Bill. I should have liked to have come in earlier on the Bill, but unfortunately I could not attend on the last day the Bill was being considered. I am sorry I should come on this late stage. Many of the points I might have made have already been covered, and far better perhaps than I could have covered them. However, there are some things which I cannot help feeling should still be emphasised.

We are dealing with one of the most crucial areas in relation to the development of this country when we are considering education. We are dealing with a highly emotive area in which there is a considerable degree of social imbalance and of obscurity as to what are the objectives of our educational system, in particular our third level educational systems. Perhaps this Bill is very welcome in focusing our minds on the various points which Senators have brought up, as to why we are establishing this new type of third level institution.

Basically, it is for very hard pragmatic reasons. For the development of the country we need people with a very high degree of technological education. It must go hand in hand with development by the IDA, and indeed perhaps the only hope we have of maintaining and increasing our material standards and living standards is by ensuring that we have a pool of people with adequate technological training, who are capable of playing a full role in the new industries which we must attract if we are to continue with an export orientated and modernised industry. This, to some extent, puts the emphasis excessively on the bread and butter aspects. One could say that third level education has, in its origins, always been closely related to basic occasional needs of society. Universities in western Europe grew up from the clerical needs at one stage, and then the requirements for professional people in law and medicine, and later the requirements of the various colonial powers for administrators.

Now we see the need particularly for technological graduates. It is a pity that so much emphasis is being put on technology as such, because one of the great features of third level education, and in a sense of all education, should be a pursuit of learning for its own sake and, as Senator FitzGerald said, the pursuit of innovation. At times necessarily the two tend to clash. One must have somebody with high technological skills, and capable of supervising or taking part in various technological needs, but one must have other people with high technological skills capable of imaginative thinking, of putting forward new ideas and processes.

I am a little unhappy that in this institute the emphasis over and over again seems to be on the technological side without, in my opinion, sufficient emphasis on other, in the broader sense, cultural aspects which should accompany this. I say this even though I previously remarked in this chamber that I was unhappy in the past about the undue arts emphasis in our universities. There is a very considerable part for arts graduates to play, and I join in some of the remarks of Senator Murphy and others regarding arts graduates and fully support them.

I find myself, surprisingly, in considerable agreement with many of the remarks of Senator Murphy in this debate. I hope this does not embarrass him——

I hope the Senator will not have to examine his conscience.

There are one or two paragraphs I might not entirely agree with. Another aspect which should be emphasised is that we are setting up this institute because we need technological graduates. I hope the Minister can see his way to ensure that there are very close links with industry and the trade unions in relation to this body. One of the gaps in the United Kingdom has been the lack of integration between university, industry and the trade unions. This has been a very overlooked feature, but a very important feature, in relation to the deterioration of British industry and their failure to make use of innovations in their universities, in their technological institutes. These innovations discovered in these academic institutions are often processed in other countries and by other industries, other than British industries.

In relation to this type of institution it is very important that industry and the trade unions should be closely involved. We hear so much about conflict between industrial, professional bodies, corporate bodies and the trade unions vis-á-vis wage negotiations and so on that we overlook the fact that these bodies may often have both an interest and a worthwhile part to play in training graduates and the development of industry. It is clearly in the interests both of industry and of the trade unions that technological education is of the best and most appropriate standard in every sense of the word. I wonder will the institute, for example, consider sandwich courses?

We have talked a lot about admission to this institute. We talked about bringing in mature students, and continuing education, but from the point of view of actual practical usage of these graduates and their most appropriate training, one of the best ways to do this is to see that the young people involved in the practical side of the industry in which they are actually working — for example, an industrial body using computers in the industrial and practical sense — also spend a reasonable period going into the academic or technological aspects of the computer industry. I hope the Minister when making nominations will appoint representatives from local industry and the trade unions.

As regards external confirmation of the standards in these bodies, it is absolutely essential that there must be a degree of quality. It is a fact that a great deal of the industry we are attracting is foreign. They will quite cold-bloodedly consider, among other factors, the actual technical, academic, technological standards of our graduates. For that purpose, it is essential that we are able to keep up with the best standards elsewhere. I have no doubt that we will do this. One of the great features of our third level education has been the high standard we have independently maintained throughout, but this is something which calls for constant vigilance. One has seen, in different areas of the world, in central Europe, the Federal German Republic and southern Asia, where standards have fallen very considerably for very different reasons and have created serious problems. The question of standards is absolutely essential to these institutes. I am not sure it has to be validated necessarily by external examiners, it is more a question of emphasising the fact that standards must be maintained, and I am sure they will be.

The question of research in the institute is not one we have discussed to any great extent. Subsection (1) (b) talks about engaging in research in such areas as the governing body may deem appropriate. I am sure the governing body will consider that this must be of a very wide compass and not unduly limiting in any way in the research which they permit to take place. I hope this will be more than a nominal requirement which the governing body will take upon themselves to exercise with vigour.

Another aspect which must also be borne in mind is the complete revolution in communications. We think of this primarily in relation to business matters and the organisation of offices. We have gone far beyond the stage of the telex, and the telephone. There are many machines on which information can be very rapidly transferred or displayed. They are very important in business and are likely to become of increasing importance. An institute such as this has a major role to play, not just simply in relation to the development of such methods or their usage in industry, but also in relation to education. I am sure many of the traditional forms of education, from the lecture upwards, will continue and have a certain validity and contribution which will always continue. Nonetheless, there are totally new methods of transferring information and relating one's understanding of information, not simply in textbooks in which one reads one chapter and then tests one's knowledge by a series of questions. This method can be superseded totally by machines in which one can constantly test one's degree of advancement of knowledge or understanding of a particular subject. I would like to think that the institute itself will not merely think of the applications of communications to industry, but will also think of the applications of communications within the whole field of third level or post graduate education.

I am glad to see this Bill in this House because it is very important and essential for the development of this country. In many ways it is one of the most important Bills we have had before this House. It reflects the considerable amount of work the Minister, his Department and those concerned with the institute have been doing. I look forward with interest to his Bill on the universities because the whole question of third level education is absolutely crucial, not only for our material development but also for our cultural development and our independence of mind. I fully support the Bill. I do not think it is necessary that this body should be a university as such, but I wonder have we philosophically thought out what we mean by "a university" or by "university education". There are a lot of points we should consider and which, hopefully, we will be discussing further when we come to the Bill on universities.

I want to expeditiously pass my compliments on the Bill to the Minister in saying that the NIHE Dublin is a very good idea, that the philosophy behind its creation is good, that the formation of these institutions of higher education throughout the country, parallel and side by side, with university institutions, is a good idea, that the need for technologies in our industries and in our society in general is an obvious need, and that these institutions seem to be admirably adapted to fulfil that need. I have hardly any reservations about the idea of an institution such as this, or the one in Limerick, or the one that is to follow in the legislation relevant to Thomond. Having made that clear, I am in favour of what is in the Bill and all right thinking people would support me.

Having made by bona fides absolutely clear I want to register my very deeply-felt reservation about this Bill, and I hope it will not crop up in the University Bill. it concerns section 9 and the appointment of the governing body. I had to leave the House for a Parliamentary Committee when Senator Murphy was building up towards the great crescendo of his oration and I felt deprived both for his aesthetic and educational reasons——

We had a quotation from a metaphysical poet in the Senator's absence.

I could not hope to match that kind of performance. Let us discuss the notion of the governing body. The governing body of the national institute, as far as I can judge, will be entirely under the control of whoever happens to be Minister for Education at that time. There are gestures made towards students, towards members of junior staff and so on, but by and large it is a governing body which will be under the thunb of the Minister and his Department. I cannot think of a formula better calculated to please the civil servants than this. A glaring absence from this governing body is the fact that the graduates of the institution cannot elect members to the governing body. I do not know whether this point has been raised before, Senator Murphy assures me he did not raise it. If you think of the governing body as an institution, can yo think of any more responsible and committee people, or better informed people, than the graduates of the institution?

In the universities provision is made for six members to be elected by the graduates to the consistent colleges. These, in the history of the university, have been among the most vigorous, independent and informed of the people serving on those governing bodies. I am such a person, of course, and I have to declare my interest in the matter.

It seems to be a gross defect in the constitution of the governing bodies of these institutions that the graduates will not be included in its membership. They have been students; they have come through the system; they know its defects; they know its merits; they have a commitment and a loyalty to them but they have informed critical intelligence in regard to their operations. The absence of graduates from the governing bodies of these institutions is a grave defect. The preponderance of ministerial nominations on them is also a grave defect and it leaves itself wide open to all kinds of charges. Depending on the judgment of the Minister in question, it is a jest apt to be rendered, as somebody said in Julius Caesar, that he can appoint his friends to that governing body, that it can be a means of patronage and so on. It is very serious that none of the past students of that institution has a chance of serving on the government body. I wish I had sufficient eloquence to ram that point home with maximum force. I hope it does not cast a shadow forward on the University Bill because in the situation——

Senator Murphy asked not for whom the Bill tolled.

The Minister seems to be taking certain relish in his private meditations. I hope he is not exercising a kind of sadistic foresight in the matter. The only possible answer to that would be that blood would have to be split in a situation like that.

I only refer to section 9 on this stage because I cannot go into in detail. Under section 9 every lecturer, janitor, night watchman, professor, head of department, in the institution will be monitored by the Minister and his Department and possibly the HEA as well. One way or another, academic freedom within that institution seems to be absolutely negated by section 9. Whether this casts a shadow forward or not I do not know, but it seems that individual appointments to this institution will be entirely under the thumb of the Minister. I cannot see any other way of reading that section. Suppose an institution is well motivated, and tries to maintain its academic standards as best it can. It wants somebody very good and tries to attract somebody from England. It might get somebody from the University of Manchester or Reading if it offered a decent salary. This happens all the time. I do not speak as an absolute "eejit" on this matter. I sat on the appointment boards of NIHE, Dublin, Maynooth, Carysfort and every third level institution in Ireland, and added my voice. I know how difficult it is to get good people. If I read section 9 directly, the Department will decide the point on the incremental scale everybody will be paid.

In any of those cases, did the Minister stop any of the appointments?

Not in the universities.

In the places the Senator mentioned?

It is early days yet, but I would like to get a little information.

Did it happen?

I do not know.

I do. I did not.

That is because we have an enlightened Minister, but suppose we had somebody much less civilised?

Capatio bene volente.

It is bad legislation to put this kind of thing in the hands of Miniister. It should be in the hands of the institution. The institution should be in a position to go into the marketplace and say it wants a person. I am not making any indictment of civil servants because some of my best friends are civil servants, but they intend to be rather pedantic about what point on the scale the man is to come in at. They say: "We are going to bring in a 29-year-old hot shot in education from the University of Sheffield, and offer him £12,000 a year, I am only making £10,000 myself. No bloody way. "That kind of thinking could destroy an educational institution. That kind of thinking is given carte blanche in section 9. I do not like section 9. The institution should have control over the point on the scale at which somebody is appointed. I prophesy if that is not changed there will be stagnation, frustration and possible homicide as a result.

With those reservations, may I come back to my opening point. I think this is an excellent Bill which fulfils a great national need, but the appointment of the governing body and that appointment of personnel need a very severe second look. If the same points are in the new University Bill I will be oiling my machinegun.

I would like if somebody would inquire into why the chair in the Seanad has to be so weighty. It is impossible to move it around and occupants are in danger of being crushed by it. I think there is lead somewhere in it.

I want to thank the Senators who contributed to this Second Stage debate on the National Institute for Higher Educaation, Dublin, Bill. I have made careful notes of the various contributions and I will try to deal with the points raised as best as I can. Senator FitzGerald commented in his wide-ranging speech on the necessity to have a sufficient number of graduate personnel with skills for the various highly sophisticated industries which the IDA have succeeded in attracting to this country. He went on to give some statistics about the number of new jobs between now and the middle eighties, and emphasised that the creation of mechanical, electrical and electronic engineeing jobs was going ahead apace, and that we would have to cater for them. He, with other Senators, expressed some reservations about concentrating on the jobs, on the idea of having graduates more or less processed to suit industry and the dangers that lie in that kind of attitude. I am in total agreement with them. Therefore, it is very important that the courses should be constructed in such a way that the graduates are not simply robots for use by the owners of industrial enterprises. I would hope that all our education, from the primary, through post primary and on to the third level, whatever type of third level institution the children go to, will have the effect of giving an education which will help the citizen not to become simply somebody trained for a specific purpose and at the use, beck and call and dismissal nod of somebody who developing in indutsry. We hear the cries de guerre nowadays about the lack of skills in specific areas, but I do not think anybody would want that position.

Senator FitzGerald referred to a possible inflexibility in the existing institutions, but I would like to say that while we are studying this whole position we should realise that in this country, more than in many of the mainland European countries, the universities have tried to cater in the past for the technological area. Were it not for the engineers, originally mainly civil engineers, turned out by our existing universities we should not have been able to make the progress we made from the establishment of the State. Indeed, the whole engineering area was developed from civil, electrical, mechanical, industrial, agricultural and so forth in the university context. We are talking now in the National Institute for Higher Education, Dublin, Bill about an engineering area where there is a greater relationship with industry. There is more emphasis on the practical end of the profession than has hitherto been the case in the universities that we have.

Senator FitzGerald referred to the developments in the field of electronics which carry certain implications for the future. He asked if anybody in the country had given any serious consideration to the social implications of these developments. This was a highly pertinent question in the circumstances. We are told that the micro-electronic developments will leave many people, who are being trained at the moment for specific jobs in the country, without the jobs. There will—Senator Hussey will probably be interested in this—particularly in the secretarial field be fewer jobs in the future and we are training people for those jobs at the moment.

There are many other areas where this will be effective. I hope that in the National Institute for Higher Education in Dublin and in any other institution, whether it be in the traditional university or elsewhere, where these courses are being developed, there will be a heavy emphasis on the social implications of these developments. We will have to look to a time when there will be more leisure —I hope that leisure is the word rather than unemployment—and there will have to be new thinking on the distribution of wealth and the occupying of time for people who would nowmally be involved nowadays in the commercial or industrial life of the country. There has been a good deal written about this recently, there have been some very effective books on the whole matter. The new institutes—the National Institute for Higher Education in Dublin and Limerick—would be particularly suited for studying the implications of these developments, seeing that they will be ground.

Senator FitzGeralkd welcomed the Bill wholeheartedly. He said there were many things arising out of the Bill that deserve our consideration, and in that I agree with him. There is one aspect of it —I may have referred to it in the House, I certainly referred to it elsewhere—that interests me and should interest anybody who wants to assess what the future educational scene will be in this country, that is the type of curriculum which we should be putting before our students as of now.

It seems to me that thee new institutions are ideally situated for addressing themselves to these problems. For example, the actual learning of skills—there was great emphasis on that throughout the debate in the Seanad—may prove a very frustrating exercise if in fact the skill that is acquired is obsolete before the person who has learned it has grown very old in his or her job. For that reason there must be a great emphasis on the training of the mind and of the personality of each individual so that there will be a fertile field in which new skills are sown and brought to maturity. In other words, the minds of the pupils will have to be trained in such a way as to have the maximum flexibility and creativity. Senator Conroy mentioned the place of the imaginative intelligence and that perhaps if we we over-emphasise technology we might be in some way attacking the values of an imaginative intelligence. I do not think anybody in this House who contributed to the debate, least of all I myself, as Minister, in bringing in this Bill, would like to see that happen.

Senator FitzGerald and other people mentioned the University Bill. I suspect that many people who spoke who were ostensibly talking about the National Institution for Higher Education, Dublin Bill, in fact were fearing the University Bill. Senator Murphy in changing a quoation said: "Ask not for whom the Bill tolls, it tolls for thee" and felt that might be something that a university person might think as a result of reading these Bills. I do not accept the major premise upon which that fear is based. I might use not a metaphysics poet, but a poet in whom I have a very special interest—I cannot say he was from Ballyjamesduff, but his forebears were—Edgar Allen Poe, and I say to Senator Murphy: "Fear not the tintinnabulation of my Bills".

Senator Whitaker in his contribution came back to fears that he had expressed already about the importance of external participation in the assessment of candidates for senior academic posts. He referred to the universities when he was making his point. The university legislation will be created in such a way that, in fact, there will be room for making this provision. Anybody who read the debates in the Dáil will realise that I have from the very beginning, both in public statements and private correspondence with the National Council for Educational Awards, emphasised that when we want from the National Council for Educational Awards and from the institutes that were being established is a standard in certificate, diploma and degree courses which would stand up in any country, that the standard is one which could not be doubted in any country, by any perspective employer or by any academic or technological institution. I have no fear that we will not be able to achieve that. Senator Whitaker has stated and reiterated his belief that we should not leave this just to chance or that it should not be left entirely to good behaviour. I think that there are sufficient safeguards in the Act that has been passed and in this Bill. I can assure the Senator that, in so far as the new university legislation is concerned, there will be the possibility of making such provision.

I was referring to appointments.

I accept that. That is what I was referring to originally. My opening remarks referred to the assessment of candidates for senior academic posts. The Senator went on to say that we should provide expressly for an external check on degree standards. The safeguard he mentioned which exists in the National University of Ireland for 72 years will not be absent from new legislation.

Senator Murphy, welcomed the Bill and refered to the particular development in the National Institute for Higher Education, Dublin, which was mentioned in my opening speech, and which has been commented on during the course of the debate by other Senators, the desirabilty of having this communication studies course in the National Institute for Higher Education, Dublin. He went on to refer to his own experience as an examiner, which he mentioned in the previous debate, with the Northern Ireland polytechnics.

Senator Hussey, seemed to think that what Senator Murphy was referring to was simply communication with emphasis on the form of communication rather than on the substance of what is communicated. The departments do not work out like that in the polytechnics. I am, sure they will not work out like that in the National Institute for Higher Education in Dublin either.

Senator Murphy welcomed in particular the fact that I made a decision that the National Council for Education Awards would be the assessment and certificate diploma degree awarding body. He mentioned that the short period of association between University College, Cork and the National Institute for Higher Education in Limerick indicated that the traditional university was not fitted to supervise, or, to quote Senator Murphy, "to mother" this kind of new institution. University College were not in any way to blame about that debacle. It was foisted on them as a chore to try to do this. I did not agree with it as a policy at the time and I do not agree with it now. It was not so much University College, Cork mothering an institution as having a foster child pitched into its lap, with which it could not cope even though it did a great deal of work and made a very sincere effort to do it.

I was glad that Senator Murphy and others defended the arts graduates. I have never been able to make up my mind as to why people who take it upon themselves, properly, wisely and in the right place, to promote technological education, should find it necessary also, as a corollary to denigrate an academic or an arts education. Many of the top commercical people and industrialists are on record as saying that a liberal arts course is one of the best substructures for technical training and commercial training of a high order afterwards. It is not unrelated to the point I made already of how important it is that the students we have in our various institutions should be trained in such a way that their minds are adaptable, flexible, critical and creative. As Senator FitzGerald said, there is a good deal of discussion and debate necessary in this field.

One point made by Senator Murphy was that the mobility should be emphasised not merely between the new institutions but between the new institutions and the traditional universities. There has been some mobility already in this regard, but in the future there will be need for a great deal more from the new institutions to the traditional universities and from the traditional universities to the new institutions. Senator Murphy quoted from an article that Dublin has stated that it will take special interest in recurrent adult education. He praised the admission procedures which the National Institute indicated it will employ. He said the traditional universities are not satisfied with the decision on entrance qualifications. In fairness to them, they are in a very difficult position. They have great numbers applying and they have had to introduce the points system. It is a very weak kind of substitute. When they asked me or somebody else what we suggested as a substitute it is very difficult to say. The National Institute for Higher Education, Dublin, in having an aptitude test, at least we have developed admission procedures to cope with the recurrent adult education problem and to cater for mature students.

Senator Murphy and Senator Martin criticised the construction of the governing body and the facilities for what they call "civil service intervention in the institution", calling the whole structure excessively bureaucratic and making way for interference. I suppose we will have discussion in greater detail on that at Committee Stage. There is not in the construction of the governing body the possibility of the Minister having 16 members. there are three members who will be appointed by the academic staff of the institute, one from the non-academic staff, two of those members full time students, three appointed on the recommendation of the Minister from members of the teaching staff of the colleges of technology managed by the City of Dublin Vocational Education Committee. They are not ministerial appointments. Two will be appointed on the recommendation of the Minister from membr5ers of the teaching staff of regional technical colleges. They are not ministerial appointments. Two of those shall be members appointed on the recommendation of the Minister from members of the managerial boards of regional technical colleges—they are not ministerial appointments. One will be appointed on the recommendation of the governing body of the National Institute for Higher Education, Limerick, to keep the link between Limerick and Dublin.

If we go back to section 5(4)(a) we find that nine of those members shall be appointed on the recommendation of the Minister in accordance with the provisions of subsection (5) of this section.

The freedom of the Minister is severely curtailed by section 5(5) because it reads:

Before making any recommendation for appointment to the Governing Body of the Institute pursuant to subsection 4(a) of this section, the Minister shall have regard to the extent to which industry...

The Minister's brief is tied. He must take cognisance of an industrialist or a trade union worker in industry, agriculture, a farmer, someone who works on a farm or farm related industry, fisheries, commerce, the professions, the staff of the institute or the staff of any college or body referred to in the same subsection. The Minister's freedom to appoint is severely limited and, in fact, the lines laid down in that particular section for the appointment to the governing body indicate the widest possible field of selection, and in my opinion there is no danger of ministerial interference whatsoever.

Having regard to the Minister he does not.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

The Minister should be allowed to continue without interruptions.

I welcome this. Apart from a concern that is projecting itself forward into the university field I think that both Senator Murphy and Senator Martin may be concerned about this. I cannot understand how I could pick somebody from industry, agriculture, fisheries, commerce and the professions who would be docile, bowing to my will, running to find out what my latest thought on the National Institute for Higher Education, Dublin was so that he would come in and push it at the governing body. It would mean that the people who were trained in all those fields in our educational system had abdicated all responsibility to use a critical faculty and were mere puppets or robots, to whom Senator Richard Conroy referred in his contribution, at the beck and call of the Minister. I do not believe that we are talking in reality at all. For that reason I am inclined to give more heed to what was in the back of the Senators' minds than what was on their tongues.

Gradual representation would solve a lot of it.

There is no provision precluding in any of those fields gradual representation on the governing body. Senator Murphy went on to refer to academic drift. I do not think that there was any idea in the specific construction of the governing body to deal with academic drift. When turning the sod for the National Institute for Higher Education in Dublin I referred in my speech to this problem. It was a problem that occurred on a large scale, as the Senator knows, in Great Britain, where institutions which were established for a specific purpose, moved away. Indeed I remember seeing in the higher education supplement in The Times that there was a department of protestology established in one of the colleges of advanced technology. I am all for a little bit of protestology but I do not think that we would move into these madcap areas in this country. These are established as technological colleges and it is important that they should stick to their briefs. I do not think that the composition of the governing body can be related to any fears that I may have — I have expressed those fears — of the dangers of academic drift.

I can assure the House that it is not my intention, nor is it the intention of the Bill, that there should be any day-to-day interference by the Minister or by the Department of Education in the workings of NIHE. I could see that a Senator might be concerned with that. If there were a real danger of that I think there would be justification for the oiling of a gun, which was threatened by Senator Martin. Senator Murphy said that this would mean more staff for the supervision of the institute. I cannot see that at all. The very fact that Limerick is there — by your fruits you shall know them — and it is working effectively, is producing graduates and is linking up with industry, it is a going concern, seems to indicate to me that the lines of the Bill, upon which it was established were lines that do not carry these dangers to the extent that was mentioned by the two Senators. Senator Murphy said there was room for substantial ministerial interference. That would horrify me if I thought it was true. I do not think that it is true.

My information is that there is such day-to-day interference already.

I deny this. We cannot, for example, sanction developments in any institute out of public funds without getting clearance from the Ministers concerned. I do not think it is fair to say that the public servants who advise Ministers would in any way allow extraneous matters to damage their judgment with regard to the sanctioning of moneys for particular jobs. One Senator said that a civil servant might look at a post and say: "This fellow will have £2,000 per annum more than I have. I will not sanction it." That is an unworthy remark, I think it was a slip that was not worthy of the Senator. He knows perfectly well that the possibility of that happening is very remote indeed.

Senator Mulcahy who, as I said already when we were speaking in the House, played no small part in the setting up of the various structures for the R.T.C.s and for these national institutes, when he acted as chairman of the committee, some years ago asked should the regional technical colleges not be included in this legislation, if I am right in thinking that is the point he made. As the House knows, there are plans to have more regional technical colleges in the Dublin area. There are plans to have four such regional technical colleges. They are relevant on this Bill in that it is our intention that there should be a close link for the type of mobility that was referred to by Senator Murphy with regard to the traditional universities and the new National Institute, that type of horizontal mobility between the regional technical colleges and the National Institute. That is envisaged. We hope that will cause the regional technical colleges and the National Institutes to thrive and prosper.

There is one point I should like to make. The vocational education committees as of now are responsible for the regional technical colleges. They have done this very well. As of now I have no plans to remove the regional technical colleges from the control of the vocational education committees.

If we wanted to bring them more tightly into the compass of the National Institutes for Higher Education then we would have to take them away from the vocational education committees, and we would have to fund them through the Higher Education Authority. As of now I have no plans to-do that. There are some people who have advocated this and have been advocating it for some time.

Senator Mulcahy emphasised the whole idea of mobility as between the new institutes and the traditional universities and between the regional technical colleges and the national institutes, and the more widely known our desire for that mobility is the better. He touched on the old problem of the clash between technology and what are called the academic disciplines. I do not think I need say any more about that. He did make a point about the development of the micro-processors and micro-electronics. I have already referred to that.

I had the privilege of being at the particular function that Senator Mulcahy mentioned where these people had dedicated a number of years of their adult life to study to get this master's degree, and it was a great revelation to me to spend an evening with them. They are fully conscious of the need in these fields, both the commercial and the industrial fields. They are rather scared, and this links up with what I said with regard to the social implications of development which was referred to by Senator FitzGerald, development which will put one robot into a factory doing the job of a couple of hundred people. They are scared about what I mentioned already, the development of the micro-chip, not merely its social implications but its implications for the success of our industry. This is an area on which we will have to concentrate our attention. The National Institutes are ideally equipped. So are the universities. The universities have an obligation in this field also. The point is that we do not want to drift into a situation where we will be dealing with large numbers of educated people under an antiquated system of distribution of wealth and where we will not have our plans made for a proper evolution in this field.

Bhi áthas orm gur luaigh an Seanadóir Ó Maolcatha ceist na Gaeilge ins an teicneolaiocht. Dúirt sé nach raibh sé ag moladh dúinn go mbeadh na hadhbhair sna hinstitiúidí seo á múineadh trí Ghaeilge ach dúirt sé go mba chóir dúinn béim do chur ar an nGaeilge do chuile chathróir sa tir agus nach cóir failli a dhéanamh sa Ghaeilge sna coláistí teicneolaíochta. Tá a fhios agam go mbionn meascán de Ghaeilge is Béarla uaireanta nuair a bhionn daoine ag plé cúrsai na teicneolaiochta. Is cuimhin liom uair amháin gur chuir mé ceist ar fhear thuas i dTir Chonaill an raibh córas ceirde a bhi aige costasach agus dúirt sé liom, "bíodh fhios go bhfuil sé designeálta fá choinne petrol agus tá sé ag ól paraffin oil. Tá an consumption trom go maith."

Senator O'Brien, in a constructive and wide ranging speech, welcomed the Bill in particular because it was making provision for third level education for many thousands more of our young people. As he comes from the same constituency as I do and as he knows the need in that kind of constituency where we have the highest percentage in Ireland of people involved in agriculture at the small farmer level, I welcome his words in par-, ticular. He mentioned the survey that was made and the indications that there were 13 or 14 different skills where we lacked qualified people when an assessment was made some time ago. He was referring to the activities of the manpower committee. It is true. We were short and people were encouraged to come back, particularly from Britain, where a publicity campaign was conducted by the Department of Labour, a very successful one, and one that should be pleasing to us in this country because in all the universities in the second last term and sometimes in the last term, we have representatives calling from the multinational companies trying to entice away the very best of our graduates, particularly in the science and engineering field. This is a feature of the university each year. We got quite a few of those back. We got some who were not graduates but who had trained themselves on the floor, so to speak, in industry and they were welcome too. In a way we are getting back some of our own and they have the additional strength of having had experience in their own field.

Senator O'Brien mentioned his own experience as an interviewer in making appointments to vocational schools on behalf of the vocational education committee and pointed out that sometimes he had over 100 applicants for jobs teaching history or English and when he was looking for mechanical engineering, woodwork and metal work teachers, often he had nobody at all. I said in the other House that we hoped — and this will come up more specifically on the Thomond Bill — to get enough graduates from Thomond College in metal work and in engineering studies, woodwork and construction studies to provide teachers for all the post-primary schools. That is our long term ambition. I know it is a long term ambition but it is a worthwhile ambition and one to which we will now dedicate ourselves. It is not an easy one but it is one we will have to try to achieve.

Senator O'Brien also referred to something I said in the Dáil about our great hurry to get out of the system. Parents are not entirely blameless in this, and they do push their children. Historically, there was an economic basis to the whole problem. It was necessary to get through the system and get a position as quickly as possible. This was true. To a certain extent it is still true but it is not sound educationally. It is sad that the young boy or girl thinks, because he is not graduating from university at 20 or 21, he is too old, whereas our partners in Europe, in many countries, are not starting until they are 19 or 20. Senator O'Brien related this to the number of failures and even to problems with drugs and drink afterwards in third level institutions. He also praised the application of the aptitude test.

I cannot help the universities. I do not know if anybody has made a suggestion in this House that would help the universities in the matter of assessment. The aptitude test is one way. The aptitude test is good provided we do not look for too much from it. There is the infallibility syndrome; in this country, when an aptitude test is set up, we are inclined to predicate infallibility off it straight away. Senator Hussey gave an example where this did not obtain. Developing psychologist gurus and attributing infallibility to them is a mistake, just the same as giving too much weight to honours mathematics or honours in any other subject. It is a very difficult field. It is one where it is very difficult to make categorical statements credibly. I think all the methods should be used but one should always have that little reservation that the aptitude tests are not infallible, the examinations are not infallible; there will be a certain amount of hit and miss no matter what happens. There is no way of saying this is the best person for a course of medicine, there is an element of chance in the end.

Senator O'Brien also referred to the question of ministerial control, talked about the appointment of members of the General Council of County Councils to the various university governing bodies and to the Senate of the National University of Ireland, and recommended membership for members of the Irish Vocational Education Association. I assure the Senator that there will be representation from the Irish Vocational Education Association on the governing body.

Senator Donnelly made the very strong point of the fundamental importance of what we were doing here. He talked about the great demand for technological graduates for top level places in the industrial life of the country, and went on to praise the Institute of the College of Commerce in Rathmines, with which he had a personal association. I should like to emphasise one point very strongly. Senator Donnelly said that there could be no conflict between the existing colleges, College of Commerce, Kevin Street and Bolton Street, and the new National Institute for Higher Education, Dublin. I agree with him fully in this. He has had experience in this field. It is important that we should emphasise it. The objectives are the same, high level education for commercial and technological graduates.

The point he made that their demand was so high that there could be no question of making too much provision is also an important one. We will need all the places that we have in Kevin Street, Bolton Street, College of Commerce and the other colleges under the City of Dublin Vocational Education Committee and all the places that we can develop in the National Institute for Higher Education, Dublin, and in the four new regional technical colleges which we intend to provide in the Dublin area.

He spoke particularly about the gradual wearing down of some traditional industries that were labour intensive and the arrival of new industries which are not labour intensive and very often are capital intensive, which require far fewer workers and very high skills. It is about that business that we are here. The National Institute for Higher Education, Dublin, is important in that field as are the other ones. He finished by praising the aptitude test, by quoting the old "educate that you may be free" motto of the last century. The freedom, as he said, was somewhat different from what we are talking about now. We were talking in the 19th century about political freedom. It is true to say that the freedom of the individual or the freedom of choice in his job is a valid interpretation of the word freedom in this context today

Senator Donnelly also referred to the importance of student accommodation. It is a problem. I am not necessarily concerned with it today. If we are concerned with the standards achievable in the institute, we will have to take cognisance of the fact that there are difficulties about accommodation. He said that these difficulties, which exist very heavily on the south side and in the environs of the various institutions and universities now, are going to move to the north side of the city of Dublin as the result of the establishment of this institute.

He referred to student protests and emphasised that the students had their right to protest and also have every right to make their views known. He went on to say that they had a privileged position, that there was pressure for places and that they had the places and the rights of others should not go without acknowledgement from them.

Senator Hussey welcomed the Bill and said that by its nature it would have to have a technological bias. She said that the demand was great, would increase and must be planned for. She indicated also the social changes that had taken place since she was at the university, and talked of a projection for ten years time, for 1990. That projection has been made, is available and will be published in the White Paper.

Senator Hussey talked about Ireland having the lowest level of participation in third level education in the European Economic Community. We have already touched on one aspect of that, that we are in too much of a hurry into and out of our third level institutions. Very often the statistics with regard to Europe are not relevant to our situation at all. The statistics are often given by age groups — number at age 18, number at age 19, number at age 20 — in fact in continental universities, very often they are starting at 19 or 20 and their course goes on for five to six years. I visited Eindhoven in Holland which is a technological university and there I was told that the course is a five year course, 20 was the average age of intake and that six-and-a-half years is the average for graduation from it. When you compare Irish statistics with those statistics you are not comparing like with like. I am not making a case for our participation rate, but, to get a proper view of who has the lowest and who has the highest rate of participation, we should be comparing like with like.

The point she made of 21,000 males and 15,000 females in third level education seems to indicate that there was a drop-out of about 6,000 women students who should be in third level education. Having already made the point that the girls did better in 19 out of 23 subjects in the leaving certificate, perhaps the fact that the technological field had been almost entirely male hitherto may explain this, in part at least.

It is also true that in the commercial field very often the preponderance is one of women. Recently, there was an international apprentice competition held in Cork There were female participants in the competition, in particular one Japanese girl who competed in the plumbing section. She was very small. All the tools of her trade were in proportion. The box of plumber's tools was made to suit either herself or a small man in Japan. I regret very much that I did not have the privilege of giving her first prize in her area. She did not win a prize, but the fact that she was there excited some interest among the women students in the Cork area.

Senator Hussey referred to — and I think I have covered it already — the aptitude test, and pointed out that she had practical experience of the failure of the psychological test to indicate what would be the best profession for an individual student who took those tests. I know of other examples of this. The psychologist is useful, the aptitude test is useful but, to repeat what I have said already, we have a tendency to adopt a procedure and then attribute infallibility to it. We cannot do that with any of the tests. We know that the Leaving Certificate is not an infallible test. I agree with Senator O'Brien on that. We know that the psychological tests are not infallible. We have no consensus on what is a good test, because there is the difficulty if you leave it to some subjective criteria that you can be accused of favouritism and, as one of the Senators said, you could be accused of corrupt practices. A solid study was done on this recently by Mrs. Nevin. She came to a very strange conclusion, to people who had been castigating the leaving certificate, that the rate of success in the science faculty in University College, Dublin, over a certain period could be correlated to the successes in the leaving certificate. Again, for what it is worth, it indicates that the leaving certificate is not a totally stultifying operation as some people would seem to indicate.

Senator Hussey was hopeful for what NIHE will do for mature students and was impressed by the facilities available in the United States. I suppose it is true to say that the whole idea of working and studying has always been very strong in the United States, and many an emigrant on the eastern coast won his spurs with pride at night school, who did not have very much of an opportunity in whatever country he emigrated from. We are relating the education of these full-time students to industrial and commercial activities outside. It is not quite real in the sense that it is real in the United States. Nevertheless, we know that this practical bent is highly welcomed by people who had experience, for example, in the engineering faculties of the traditional university. That is a tribute worth listening to.

A different study unit was also referred to and I have some ideas on that. I refer to one particular point Senator Conroy made, notably the danger of emphasising the technological aspect too much. He was agreeing with Senator Alexis FitzGerald in saying that we should not in any way minimise the importance of the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake. He also emphasised the importance of innovation. From primary school, we are trying to construct courses in such a way that the minds of our young students and citizens will be flexible, creative and innovative. Senator Conroy asked if it was envisaged that there would be sandwich courses available in the institute. I am not quite sure of the definition of a sandwich course, but I think what he has in mind will be available in the new institute. He, too, with Senator Whitaker, emphasised the importance of standards. There is general agreement on that and also that the standards would coincide with the standards outside this country.

It is very important that this should be so, in that we are coming late to industrial development and that we might think, if we were relying on our own judgment and experiences, that our standards were as high as they are elsewhere. Countries which have been a long time in the technological field are places where we can get the objective assessment of standards. I do not think that will be neglected in our national institutes in Dublin, Limerick or in our regional technical colleges.

Senator Conroy referred also to the provision for research. He said it was not dwelt on very much in the course of the debate, but in the Bill provision is made for that. I apologise for having interrupted Senator Martin's contribution. His shadows are either falling forward or falling backward with regard to the university legislation. I am aware of university personnel having already voiced fears about this. I do not know what the source of the fears is or whether they are trying to pre-empt the situation or whether they think I have some kind of designs, such as a famous spider had on a famous fly. I can tell the Senator that there are no grounds for his fear nor are there any grounds for his fear in relation to this Bill. We will have a further opportunity to consider it, but I can assure him that it is not the intention of the Minister or of the Department to exercise any kind of stranglehold or to put a half-Nelson on development in any of the institutes or universities.

A different governing body, so.

It is a governing body that is soundly based and rightly based. The final point that Senator Martin made was that graduates should have seats on the governing body. I see that as an eminently reasonable proposal, I think, though, that it would be a matter for emendation of the legislation later on, because putting graduates on the National Institute for Higher Education governing body at the moment would be impossible because there is no such graduate, no such being in existence. The first students went in on 1 November. It is a good suggestion. Perhaps if they leave me long enough here I might take charge of the responsibility, if not somebody else in the future will amend the legislation to make room for graduates. There is a possibility of appointing graduates of the NIHE, Dublin, to the governing body as they become available.

I referred already to a lapsus lingua by Senator Martin with regard to a comparison, to people applying very unworthy criteria in their coming to a judgment as to the salaries people should be paid in these institutions. We have got people back from Britain and other countries to the staffs of our various institutions. We have been far more liberal at third level always than we have been in any other place in this country. I know this because I myself suffered from having taught abroad, came back and found no recognition for the service given abroad. The Department of Education in so far as they impose these things, or the Department of Finance to push it a stage further, will not be illiberal in their consideration.

I was exhilarated by the debate in the Seanad and pleased to have so much informed opinion. I hope to have such a debate to sustain me through the remaining Stages of this Bill, the next Bill on Thomond and the university legislation.

Question put and agreed to.
Agreed to take remaining Stages today.